Drilling contractors in all regions cut wages in each category of rig worker this year, according to the Land Rig Newsletter. Using driller surveys conducted in all major rig markets, the RigData News & Analysis team determined that wages have declined an average 13.2% YOY for all job types combined.
Hardest-hit were floor hands: Wages for this category in 2014 across all regions averaged $23.48/hour vs. $19.95/hour this year—a -15.2% decrease. Derrickmen in 2014 averaged $27.55/hour, but their average wage has fallen by -15.1% to $23.50/hour this year. Toolpushers’ salaries averaged $102,673 last year but have fallen -9.3% this year to $92,857.
The cuts raise concerns about retaining quality hands (now and for the long term), which could have negative consequences for hard-fought gains in drilling efficiency and safety records. As the consensus grows that a significant recovery could be years off, drillers and operators would do well to ask themselves: Where will the rig crews come from 5 or even 10 years from now—and how good will they be?