Photo: Illustration; Source: Eni

Third of oil and gas workers saw wages drop in 2020

According to a worldwide survey, almost one-third of workers in the oil and gas industry faced pay cuts in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis and drop in fuel demand and prices.

Although workers in the oil and gas industry are still well paid, the majority of those questioned in the survey felt less secure about their jobs than a year ago as the shift to low-carbon energy sources pushed down investment in their industry.

Worthwhile noting, salaries in the sector are closely tied to oil prices which plummeted in 2020 as lockdowns slashed demand for fuel.

About 30 per cent of professionals saw a fall in pay last year and one in four said their salaries and day rates fell by more than 5 per cent, Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) – a report conducted by Airswift and Energy Jobline.

Almost 20 per cent of oil and gas workers expected a further pay reduction in 2021, according to the report which surveyed 16,000 energy professionals across 166 countries. Only 37 per cent of workers reported a pay rise in 2020, compared to 50 per cent last year.

Permanent workers in North America were the highest paid, with an annual income of around $100,000 on average while workers in Latin America were the lowest paid with an average annual salary of close to $50,000.

Job security was low across all energy sectors, with 78 per cent of oil and gas workers feeling less secure than a year ago about their jobs. That figure fell to 66 per cent for those working in renewables and 59 per cent of those working in nuclear power.

Oil and gas firms have cut jobs to survive what is expected to be a long stretch of weak demand. Rystad Energy consultancy said in October more than 400,000 industry jobs had been cut up to that point of 2020, half of them in the United States, where there is a heavy focus on costly shale oil output.

Airswift chief executive Janette Marx told Reuters: “Based on our knowledge and insight into the shale market in the United States, this was one of the hardest-hit areas in the world for the pandemic”.

Nearly 9 out of 10 those questioned in the survey expected the pandemic to lead to long-term change in the industry, with the impact ranging from staff headcounts to the way employees operate in the workplace.

Just this week Shell announced its plans to cut 330 jobs from its operations in the North Sea, most of them based in Aberdeen.