The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Jobs and Opportunity in Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 10, 2014

A new report on the employment outlook for minorities and women in the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries can be summed up in two words: tremendous opportunity. The study by consulting firm IHS projects that minorities will fill one-third of jobs in these industries by 2030 – up from one-quarter in 2010. Highlights:


  • Oil and natural gas and petrochemicals industries will include more than 955,000 direct job opportunities by 2020 and nearly 1.3 million by 2030 – including growth in the industries’ baseline employment and additional jobs created from pro-development policies.
  • Of those jobs, nearly 408,000 or 32 percent of the total are projected to be held by African American and Hispanic workers through 2030.
  • Women could hold 185,000 of those jobs by 2030, considering all types of job growth.

IHS says new job opportunities are likely to be created to replace retirees and others who leave the industries. Others will come from growth in the industries’ baseline employment and additional jobs created from pro-development policies. Still more will be created as investments are made in the transportation and storage infrastructure of the two industries. The report:

The share of minorities employed in the upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas and petrochemicals industries is rising. Minority employment will rise from one-quarter of the total in 2010 to one-third of the total in 2030.


Women will share in the growth of more skilled white collar jobs in the industry. Opportunities will exist for female petroleum engineers, managers, and other professionals, with the number of job opportunities for women in these areas growing by almost 70,000 from 2010-2030.

IHS projects top occupations in the industries will include engineering and construction managers, architects, carpenters, cement masons, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, crane operators, welders, extraction workers, equipment operators, truck drivers and more. A chart from the report showing projected job opportunities (2010-2030) by occupational category:


API President and CEO Jack Gerard said because the oil and natural gas industry pays wages significantly higher than the national average it offers unique opportunities for minorities and women. Industry can help lower unemployment and shrink the income inequality gap – two goals of the Obama administration – without spending taxpayer dollars if the administration adopts pro-development energy policies. Gerard:

“We have the natural resources and the technology to be a global energy superpower with all the economic and national security benefits that entails. Smart energy policy will create tremendous opportunity for hundreds of thousands of workers – from those with just a high school diploma and some post-secondary training to those with post-graduate degrees.” 

Paula Jackson, president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy:

"As the study highlights job opportunities, it signals the tremendous need to prepare African Americans, Hispanics and women to be ready to fill the workforce gap. These jobs in the oil and natural gas industry don't just put people to work, they help to transform communities."

Jose L. Perez, chairman and CEO of Hispanics in Energy:

“This powerful and important report is a road map for workforce development stakeholders to align the content of their training with a sense of urgency to adequately prepare people for energy jobs. Energy job replacement and growth is a clear pathway for diverse communities to rise from poverty to middle-class, what a rare opportunity."

Pro-development energy policies are critically important to maximize job creation for minorities, women and all Americans. These include increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, onshore and offshore and sensible regulatory and permitting policies that allow safe and responsible development.

America’s energy wealth is providing unique opportunities for economic growth and greater energy security – both ours if we choose energy.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.