Workers in the UK’s oil and gas industries are seeing wages rocket as demand for skills increases, says a new guide.

The average salary is now £93,400, according to the industry’s Global Salary Guide 2013.

For British expats working abroad their careers are even more lucrative with average pay of £163,000 in Australia – the country with the highest pay in the industry.

Close behind with salaries of £120,000 plus are the Norway, the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

The increase in salaries is explained by the increasing demand for workers in the industry – but employers are finding there’s a skills shortage of workers in the UK with many experienced workers being lured abroad.

Talent drain

Matt Underhill, of recruitment firm Hays Oil and Gas which helped produce the survey, said: “Even though there has been impressive growth in UK salaries this year, it is still ranked 11th out of 53 countries we surveyed.

“The UK’s oil and gas industry is still making improvements in paying more and increasing benefits to help make the industries compete in the world marketplace but we still have some to go before we will see the top talent being drained away to work abroad.”

Expat workers are finding that they can earn more for their labours in Norway, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Even Brazil and Canada are paying higher salaries, according to the survey.

One issue that is improving is the paying of bonuses to attract and retain talent which can account for nearly 6% of an overall pay package.

Around two thirds of gas and oil workers receive some sort of benefit or allowance in addition to their basic pay.

Trouble keeping talent

Duncan Freer, from the ‘Oil and Gas Job Search’ site which helped co-produce the survey, said: “The rate of salary increase seen last year for workers in the industry was impressive though overall pay levels are still lagging behind some competitor countries.

“The salary increase is great for people looking to create a career in the industries and stay within the UK but it’s also important for the UK’s oil and gas industry which is trying to keep its talent which is respected around the world.”

He added: “The industry remains positive for the future despite concerns about Europe and the slowdown seen in China’s growth so anyone entering the oil and gas industries can look forward to a highly rewarding career.”

The survey also revealed that around 75% of employers expect to increase their staffing levels in 2013 – with a quarter of firms expecting to increase their workforce by at least 10%.