Oil industry bolsters area jobs

09 25, 2012 by Daily Advertiser

Finding employment that can support a family and is available for people with all education levels can be a difficult feat, but not impossible, especially in this region, according to local job ex­perts.

“The oil and gas industry is creating jobs and the construc­tion industry is creating jobs and the manufacturing indus­try is creating jobs,” Lafayette Economic Development Author­ity President Gregg Gothreaux said.

Oilfield-related positions at service companies, manufac­turing plants and refineries are among the most prevalent right now, Premier Staffing recruiter Kim Millien. The work is so good that many oilfield workers can be picky when considering their career moves, said job seekers at a Rigzone Oil & Gas Career Fair last week.

A derrick hand and welder for eight years, Adrian Bley looked for an offshore position that could top his current one and of­fer better benefits, pay and more overtime opportunities.

“That’s how I live, that’s what I’m used to. There’s no need to turn back,” he said.

Tool pusher Patrick Case has worked in the oil and gas indus­try since 1969 and has held his current position for eight years, but was curious about what other opportunities were available.

“I haven’t looked in the last nine years, but, yeah, it’s always easy to find work. It depends on how much experience you have,” he said.

That likely is the biggest hur­dle job seekers will face — hav­ing the necessary experience needed for some positions. Most employers are looking for two or three years of experience, Mil­lien said, but there still are many looking for eager employees who want room to grow.

Fernando Villarreal, a techni­cal recruiter for oilfield quality management service T H Hill Associates, said the company always has openings, and has added dozens of jobs, usually for entry-level quality assurance technicians.

“It doesn’t require a degree and places an emphasis on find­ing a good candidate who can ad­vance,” Villarreal said.

Many industrial-type posi­tions are available right now, including welders, electricians, machinists and plant work, Mil­lien said. On the administra­tive side, there are openings for bookkeepers, human resources, inside sales, she added.

For most of those positions, a high school diploma or equiva­lent is the highest level of edu­cation needed, but some require certifications or a degree.

“They don’t neces­sarily need a degree. It’s more of a high school di­ploma and the skill level, especially with welders, electricians and that type of work,” Millien said.

Pay depends on ex­perience, but welders and machinists are paid between $15 and $30 an hour, bookkeepers make $12 to $20 an hour, sales representatives earn $40,000 plus commis­sion and manufacturing and plant employees can receive between $10 and $15 an hour. Some companies, how­ever, pay more than that.

“Halliburton just lo­cated their first global manufacturing facility in quite a while here in La­fayette. They’re going to create 160 new jobs by the end of the year at $55,000 per job plus benefits and that is a $65 million facil­ity dedicated to manufac­turing parts for the global oil and gas business,” Gothreaux said.

Gothreaux named other manufacturing companies like Frank’s Casing Crew, Cameron, Begneaud Manufactur­ing, Weatherford and Louisiana Plating and Coatings in Acadiana.

“We do have some manufacturing for the non-energy industry, but, frankly, the wages in the energy industry are so much more significant than in the non-energy jobs that it’s very difficult for non-energy manufac­turing to compete,” he said.