Industry Salaries Continue to Inch Up

Total compensation for SPE members this year has risen to its highest level since 2016, as the oil and gas industry continues to recover from the steep oil price downturn that began mid-decade.


Total compensation for SPE members this year has risen to its highest level since 2016 as the oil and gas industry continues to recover from the steep oil price downturn that began mid-decade. Base pay rose across all regions, according to the annual SPE Salary Survey, which collected salary information from SPE members from 30 June 2018 to 30 June 2019.

Petroleum industry professionals reported an average total compensation of $197,619 in 2019. The past 3 years have seen gradual increases in total compensation ($196,874 in 2018, $194,649 in 2017, and $185,001 in 2016), but levels have yet to rise to those achieved before 2016 ($206,020 in 2015 and $214,328 in 2014).



Average base pay rose across the 10 regions tracked in the survey. Mean base pay reported in 2019 ($147,027) is lower than 2018 ($151,003) but similar to previously reported base pays ($151,122 in 2017, $143,006 in 2016, $153,492 in 2015). Other compensation (including bonuses) increased ($50,011) again in 2019, showing a 4-year trend of increases in other compensation ($45,872 in 2018, $43,712 in 2017, $41,995 in 2016), although not yet meeting other compensation seen prior to 2016 ($52,931 in 2015 and $57,889 in 2014).

In 2019, professionals receiving a car allowance stayed consistent with previous years at nearly one quarter, 23.5% (22.9% in 2018, 23.2% in 2017, 24.6% in 2016, and 26.3% in 2015).



The average age of professionals in the survey was 43, 44 for men and 38 for women. The amount of industry experience remained consistent with recent years, at an average of 19 years. The number of professionals who reported an education level higher than a bachelor’s degree was 46.9%, continuing a steady upward trend seen since 2016.

Compensation by Job Category, Gender

Executive/Top Management compensation has increased consistently over the past 3 years, up 27.7% since 2016. In the United States, Executive/Top Management reported average total compensation of $533,825 in 2019, an increase of 27.2% since 2018. Since 2016, Professional/Individual Contributor compensation has risen 5.8%, while Manager/Director compensation has increased 2%. In contrast, Technician/Specialty/Support Staff compensation has declined 4% since 2016. In the past year, there was a considerable decrease (–17.5%) in the US in Technician/Specialty/Support Staff compensation ($131,998 in 2019 compared with $160,000 in 2018).



Across all job levels, women reported fewer years of oil and gas industry experience than men did. In most job categories, women continue to earn less overall compensation than men. Female Technician/Specialist/Support Staff, however, earn considerably higher base pay than men, despite having an average of 4 years less experience in the oil and gas industry. While total compensation for Technician/Specialist/Support Staff has declined by 4% overall since 2016, women have gained 22.6% while male compensation decreased by 13%.

For overall Professional/Individual Contributor respondents, there was an increase of 5.8% in total compensation since 2016. Male Professional/Individual Contributor total compensation increased 6.1% on average, while female Professional/Individual Contributor total compensation rose 0.4% on average. Manager/Director total compensation has increased 2% overall since 2016; male compensation grew by 2.7% while women compensation grew by 1.9%.


Pay by Region

As in 2018, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64.5%) reported an increase in base pay during the period. Respondents in Northern and Central Asia indicated sizable increases in base pay in 2019. North Sea and Northern Atlantic and South, Central, and Eastern Europe regions also experienced increases in base pay in 2019 (up 10–11%). The overall average increase in base pay in 2019 was 13.4% compared with 8.9%in 2018.

For More Information

The complete report, including detailed charts and descriptive statistics of trends and more information on the jobs, geographies, and employer types are available in the SPE Bookstore. A file containing the raw data from the survey responses will be available for download through the bookstore to provide the opportunity for individual analysis and localization of data. Inquiries regarding purchase may be addressed through the SPE Bookstore website.