Times are ‘rough’ for new petroleum engineering grads

by Grace

What should the flood of petroleum engineering graduates do now that the oil slump has made jobs scarce?

The price of oil is down by more than 40% since June, closing Friday at $59.39 a barrel. Employment at U.S. energy companies has dropped by 6,800 jobs so far this year, according to federal data released Friday, but jobs at energy-services companies have fallen far more, by perhaps 30,000. Graves & Co., a Houston consulting company, says energy employers have announced 120,000 layoffs around the world.

So jobs are scarce for the nearly 1,800 students in the U.S. expected to graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.

Some are going back to school for an MBA and some are taking non-engineering jobs just to get their foot in the door.

One recommendation is to try to get a job as a roughneck.  But that’s not an easy job.



Erin Ailworth, “Who Will Hire a Petroleum Engineer Now?”, Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2015.

3 Comments to “Times are ‘rough’ for new petroleum engineering grads”

  1. They don’t graduate with quantitative or computing skills that could transfer to other engineering or financial jobs? That is what physics majors often do – work in the financial industry using their strong quantitative skills


  2. I think their skills could transfer to other jobs, but apparently they want to hold out and try for the lucrative petroleum engineering jobs. That’s how I read it.


  3. That’s part of why I recommend a more general engineering focus. Petroleum and large chemical manufacturing were in the tank when I graduated from college too.


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