Entry Level Salary Expectations

For someone with no experience in oil industry work, starting salaries today are ranging from $50,000 to $60,000. When you consider this pay level is for working only 6 months out of the year, the appeal of oil field or offshore work becomes very understandable. Entry-level positions start at $800 to $1,000 per week. Stewards and Galleyhands (the guys who clean the living quarters, dining hall, wash dishes, stock inventory and do general kitchen help) earn $700-800 per week. General labor, or Roustabouts make from $900 to $1100 per week. Some of the other jobs available for entry level personnel include deckhands, oilers, welder helpers, cleaner painters and more.

Locations and Current Job Openings

There are many job openings, in particular in Canada and Nigeria, as well as Dubai \ UAE (United Arab Emerites). In Canada, several new offshore platforms are being put into place off the coast of Nova Scotia, and they are now hiring for all positions, no offshore experience required. Also in Canada, the Alberta tar sands projects generate a huge, constant hiring demand; if you are willing to get a work visa, you can get a job just by driving out there). The Nigeria offshore projects are always hiring, and the pay is extremely high, among the highest in the world.
Some of the other locations currently hiring include Texas (Houston being the main hiring center), Louisiana, the North sea \ United Kingdom, Louisiana (offshore and onshore), the Gulf of Mexico (offshore), Norway, Alaska (both offshore and on the North Slope), Florida, Kuwait, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (always hiring), and the favorite of many, Australia (offshore). Australia is a particularly great work location of many, as the pay is among the highest in the world, yet the cost of living is relatively low in Australia. Guys that get on Australia rigs typically don’t come home for a very, very long time.

For more in-depth information on current wages, please see Rigworker


The Canadian Association of Oil well Drilling Contractors recommends the following minimum wage schedule for hourly paid crews.


CAODC Members can check General Bulletin G-08-08 for details on Subsistence Allowances. The rates listed below are current as of October 1, 2008.

As of October 1, 2008, the following drilling and service rig recommended wage schedules are in force.

Drilling Rig Crews
All figures represent hourly pay rates.

Rig Tech Premium
Driller $40.00 $2.00
Assistant Driller $35.00 $1.50
Derrickhand $34.00 $1.50
Motorhand $29.50 $1.00
Roughneck $28.00 n/a
Roustabout $26.00 n/a

*This wage schedule, effective October 1, 2008, was developed on the basis of survey material and is intended to apply to both eight and twelve hour shifts.

Camp* $50/Man/Day
Non-Camp** $140/Man/Day