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Oil & Gas Well Operator: Canada’s Best Jobs 2016

Despite a major energy slump, there are more jobs than workers in this area of the industry

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs » Canada’s Best Jobs 2016: The Top Jobs in Canada
Oil & Gas Well Operator Jobs — Canada’s Best Jobs


Median Salary: $72,800
Salary Growth (2009–2015): +17%
Total Employees: 19,600
Change in Employees (2009–2015): +47%

Job Description:

This category of workers include drillers, servicers and testers who operate and maintain the rigs that are the lifeblood of Canada’s energy industry. Most operators are on call 24 hours a day, and often work in remote locations for long stretches of time. Also included in this category are supervisors who oversee operations.

Job Qualifications:

High school graduates can work as on-shore oil and gas well drillers or well servicers once they complete three to months of formal on-the-job training. You’ll need several years of land experience in a position before you can make the transition to working on offshore rig. Certificates, licenses and sometimes a college degree are necessary to work in more specialized areas like well perforation services.


Well operators make less than petroleum engineers and drilling supervisors, who take home around $100,000 a year, but more than service workers. Wage growth has been solid over the last five years across the group.

Career Opportunity:

Global energy demand will continue to rise, according to HR consultancy Mercer. Despite the rampant shutdowns of wells caused by the falling oil price of late, there are still more job openings than job seekers in this field, according to Job Bank Canada. Job creation is, however, projected to slow over the next few years due to technological advances in oil sands processing and slower growth in international demand for oil products.

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