Takeaways from the SPE Annual Report and Salary Survey


5 Takeaways

Every year, SPE International releases several reports using data from it’s professional and student members. So, I want to give you all a few key takeaways from the report on where our industry currently is and where it’s going.

1. Increased Regional Diversity

A good way to gauge the direction of an industry is to compare the demographics of current professionals with those of students. Among current professional members, North Americans dominate the field, composing a full 43% of SPE professionals, with membership from the Middle East/South Asia, Asia Pacific, and Europe trailing far behind at 16, 15, and 13%, respectively. Compare this to student members, where those from the Asian Pacific region lead at 28%, followed by North Americans, South Americans/Caribbeans, and Africans at 19, 16, and 11%, respectively. What these numbers show is a shift away from traditional sources of petroleum engineers, North America and the Middle East, in favor of developing markets, namely Asia and Africa. This shift is expected due to the rapid industrialization currently occurring in these regions, and it is important that our industry embrace this shift in demographics. There are huge untapped reserves, both in oil/gas and human capital, in these regions, and it is imperative that we as an industry look at these people and resources as the future of the industry.

2. Focus on the Youth

With a rapidly aging workforce, SPE is putting a heavy focus on getting millennials and Gen Z involved in the petroleum industry. One of the methods of doing this is through the Energy4me program, which seeks to attract talented students from high school all the way down to elementary school through interactive, hands on activities. Our chapter has utilized resources from this program in the past, and we hope to continue these efforts to inspire even more students in LA.

3. Pay is Up, Especially Among Women

After several years of falling pay, the average pay went up by about 6% this year to $151,000, still down from $156,000 in 2014 but up $8000 from 2016. Reservoir engineers led the pack in the US, pulling in an average of $198,000 annually. When looking at who received most of this new wealth, 57% of women saw their salary increase, compared to 48% of men. Despite this, a large gender gap still exists. There were nearly 20 times as many men as women in executive positions among those surveyed, and men in executive positions pulled in an average of $60,000 more per annum than their male counterparts.

4. Higher Degrees Remain Prevalent

Worldwide, 45% of respondents held a post-bachelor degree, similar to the previous three years. This number falls to 34% in North America, but is as high as 80% in some regions. The takeaway from this is that while a young professional can get by with just a bachelor's degree, in some circumstance it is beneficial to enter a graduate program.

5. My Take

As an industry, we are moving towards a forward thinking model that includes more women, young people, and those from all corners of the world. Our membership and programming reflects this increasing diversity and we look forward to continuing to develop the next generation of petroleum professionals.

Dylan Chennault

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