Employment of oil and gas workers is expected to increase by 8 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Demand for oil and gas workers will depend on the demand for the products and services of two industries in particular: oil and gas extraction and support for mining activities.
Because of higher prices for resources, oil and gas companies are more likely to drill in deeper waters and harsher environments than in the past. These complex operations require more workers. Higher prices will also encourage oil and gas companies to return to existing wells to try new extraction methods, thereby increasing demand for oil and gas workers. Also, changes in policy could expand exploration and drilling for oil and natural gas in currently protected areas, potentially boosting employment.
However, new production technologies are expected to dampen overall demand for oil and gas workers. New drilling and extraction techniques allow more efficient production from a reduced number of drill sites, and that may reduce employment growth in these occupations.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition