The purpose of this article is to report on the results of the SPE manpower survey conducted annually by the SPE Manpower Committee. This yearly survey asks educators from all the schools listed in SPE's Petroleum Engineering and Technology Schools book to tell how many petroleum engineering undergraduates they have, how many graduates they had last year, what their ability to get jobs were, and what they predict their graduates' ability to find jobs will be in the future. For those graduates reporting jobs, the sector of the industry in which the jobs were found is also reported.
This year, 20 of the 50 schools we solicited returned the surveys. Exactly half of the surveys went to U. S. schools; 12 of those were returned. In addition, one of five schools listing petroleum engineering options returned the survey. Other sources of information were used whenever possible to fill information gaps. SPE's annual Petroleum Engineering and Technology Schools directory, based on surveys conducted by the Education and Accreditation Committee, is the best source of annual information on the size of the freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
This year's survey showed that the petroleum engineering job market was the worst it has been since the SPE Manpower Committee began collecting statistics in 1978. Only 29 percent of graduates seeking a job reported finding a job by the time of graduation. About 69 percent of the jobs found were with major oil companies. All other sectors of the petroleum industry showed a greatly reduced on-campus recruitment. Major oil companies also reduced on-campus recruitment significantly, but to a much lesser extent than the independent producers, pipeline companies, service companies, drilling contractors, government, consultants and financial institutions.
Survey results by country is shown in Table 1. Note that the U.S.A. accounts for 968 (84 percent) of the 1,146 job seeking graduates reported. In several countries reporting 100 percent placement for their graduates, jobs were available in government owned companies.
Table 2 shows the U. S. schools participating in the 1986 survey. These schools account for about 67 percent of the enrollment in petroleum engineering degree programs in the U.S.A. Shown in Table 3 are the number of graduates reported in the survey and the estimated total for the U.S.A. Note that about 1,400 graduates were seeking jobs during the 1985-86 academic year.
Table 4 gives the estimated number of jobs found in various sectors of the petroleum producing industry. Note that only 409 (29%) of the 1400 job seeking graduates in the U.S.A. with petroleum engineering degrees found jobs by the time of graduation. Of the 409 jobs found, 281 (69%) were found with major oil companies and 61 (15%) were found with service and drilling contractors. All other categories account for only 67 jobs (16%). A comparison of these data to surveys for the previous five years is shown in Table 5. This comparison shows that hiring is drastically down for independent producers, pipeline companies, service companies and drilling contractors, and the "other" category which includes consultants and financial institutions.
Figure 1 gives a graphic representation of the petroleum engineering manpower supply/demand history and forecast. The forecast shows that during the 1986-87 academic year, there will be 1,150 graduates competing for 350 jobs (30 percent hiring rate).