Median Salary: $79,040.00
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +23%
Total Employees: 18,700
Change in Employees (2008–2014): +30%
Rig supervisors are responsible for overseeing 10 to 20 people on several crews, who operate oil or gas drilling rigs around the clock. Though Statistics Canada’s figures show how robust the industry had been through 2014, the precipitous drop in oil prices near the end of last has changed the picture drastically for 2015: The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors recently sharply revised down its job projections, but in the longer term this is still a key part of Canada’s economy and the pendulum will swing back.
How to qualify: Formal education isn’t critical—experience is. Supervisors typically work their way through the various drilling crew jobs, beginning as roughnecks and progressing up to drilling operator. Various safety certificates and some management training may also be required, and some may also obtain a petroleum engineering technology degree.
Money: Rig managers generally earn a day rate of about $1,000. During boom times that can drive annual income well into the six figures when wells are extremely active. But it also means during times like this, when oil companies cut down production in response to depressed prices, the money stops flowing along with the crude.
Opportunity: The current low oil price has slowed activity in Alberta’s oil patch, and with it job growth. Large diversified producers are often less sensitive to price fluctuations, and long-term there is likely to continue to be opportunity. But until the oil price rises the job market in this field will remain soft.