The Most In-Demand Occupations In The Petroleum Industry For College And University Grads


The oil and gas industry is a growing one which plans to hire thousands over the next four years as workers retire and the industry continues to expand, particularly in the oil sands.

More than three quarters of oil and gas companies say they plan to hire to support industry growth, which means there are plenty of job opportunities for students and recent grads with lots of room for advancement.

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According to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, the most in-demand occupations in the oil and gas industry include:

  • Field workers, labourers and operators
  • Drilling and service supervisors
  • Chemical, mechanical and petroleum engineers
  • Non-steam ticketed operators
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Drilling co-ordinators and primary production managers
  • Truck drivers
  • Millwrights and machinists
  • Geologists and geophysicists
  • Steam-ticketed operators

While recent graduates don’t have enough experience to become drilling supervisors, there are many entry level positions in the other occupations – many of which you can find right here on TalentEgg. Browse student and entry level oil and gas jobs.

Let’s take a look at some of these in-demand occupations:

Petroleum Engineers

Did you know that entry level engineers are particularly in demand in the petroleum industry because companies prefer to teach you on the job rather than retraining engineers from other industries? That’s right. So the fact that you don’t know it all yet is actually a huge plus for new engineers!

Petroleum Engineers have a natural curiosity about and a knack for figuring out how things work. Critical thinking, the ability to creatively problem solve, clear communication skills and the ability to manage yourself are all qualities that will put you to the top of employers’ lists.

These engineers typically specialize in either oil and gas drilling, reservoir management or production:

Reservoir Engineer

Reservoir Engineers identify oil and gas reserves and develop strategies to maximize recovery, conducting simulation studies in order to do this. The plans they work on may include field developments, enhanced oil recovery techniques and revised well placements.

Production Engineer

Production Engineers analyze, develop and optimize the performance of individual wells, and design connections between the reservoir and the well. They evaluate the effectiveness of methods that increase the flow of water, gas and oil, and develop surface equipment systems to separate those substances. Most Production Engineers perform work indoors and journey to the field sites for specific troubleshooting operations.

Drilling Engineer

These engineers plan, design and implement drilling methods for all types of wells. They ensure drilling is done in the safest and most economical way possible.

Geologists and Geophysicists

Geoscientists are the industry’s Earth whisperers – they find, study and eventually help develop mineral, geothermal, and oil and gas deposits. While some of their time is spent in the field, the majority of the work that Geologists and Geophysicists do happens in an office or laboratory, where they analyze samples and use computer models.

According to the Petroleum HR Council, geology and geophysics graduates have the option of working for exploration and production companies that find and extract oil and gas recources, or geophysical services firms which help petroleum companies locate oil and gas reserves through seismic imaging.

Skilled Trades

Cheryl Knight, Executive Director and CEO of the Petroleum HR Council, says one of the most interesting things happening in oil and gas right now is how much technology is making the industry bigger and more efficient. “We are really seeing that technology and being technologically proficient is really important to the industry.”

And as the industry has become more reliant on advanced, specialized technologies, skilled tradespeople, such as millwrights, machinists, steam-ticketed operators or power engineers, have kind of become like the glue that keeps everything. They are the ones who actually construct, maintain, operate and repair all of the equipment, machinery and facilities in use at oil and gas operations. Without them, engineers and geoscientists wouldn’t be able to do their jobs.

Petroleum Week

Visit the Petroleum Career Guide to learn more about careers in the oil and gas industry, and find student and entry-level jobs from top petroleum employers.

Photo credit: Pipeline by rcbodden on Flickr