Rig cooks earn more than presidents

Corporate lawyers no longer command the biggest salaries

Chefs on oil rigs can earn up to $445,000 a year in the current market.
Chefs on oil rigs can earn up to $445,000 a year in the current market.

The offshore oil industry is the go-to industry for young job seekers and non-oil professionals due to the growing demand for labour in the booming oil sector and because of the astoundingly high wages that deep sea workers command.

Drilling engineers are well compensated for their jobs, considering the risk and technicality involved. But cooks, laundry hands and barge welders on offshore rigs can earn about the same as the president of the USA.

“In the Middle East, companies believe that their offerings are not attractive enough for new employees, so the knee-jerk reaction is to revise the compensation and benefit packages. Competing with others on pay for a limited talent pool leads to escalation of salaries,” said Roman Weidlich, director at global HR consultancy Towers Watson.

In Australia a recent wage agreement registered for offshore construction workers has an upper limit annual pay of $423,000 for a laundry hand; $445,000 for a cook; $450,000 for a tradesperson; and $498,00 for a barge welder.

This is on a four-week-on, two-week-off working schedule. Catering and housekeeping professionals on rigs are in high demand and typically operate on 12-hour shifts; which has workers doing 14 days on and then rotating out for a break for 14 days. Increasing demand for oil & gas workers globally is forcing energy companies to expand their operations offshore, so the industry is seeing a growing number of job vacancies.


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Oil & Gas Middle East - September 2020

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