Do not get deceived by sweet tales and myths you hear about working in oil and gas companies in Nigeria. The stories are laced with lies and sugar, and often times, widely exaggerated. And who is to blame? After all, the stories have been there for decades and being passed on blindly! It's time to pour a little salt water on the much hyped frenzy about working in oil and gas in Nigeria…
Here are the 5 biggest ones I have compiled for you:
- SHELL is the BEST PAYING
Well, the jury may still be out on which company is the best paying in the Nigerian oil & gas industry. But what's not in controversy is that SHELL IS NOT THE BEST PAYING. In actual fact, companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil & Total are known to pay better than Shell according to industry insiders & researchers.
- The Salaries ARE ARMED ROBBER SALARIES
Again, this may be true to a reasonable extent. But it's overly exaggerated. The average entry-level pay is around N600k-N800k. This is only true for permanent staff of most of the oil majors. Contractors & auxiliary staff get far less. When you take out 20% personal income tax which is a mandatory deduction, it's not so sky-high as most people often think.
This may seem to present a huge gulf when compared to what other grads may start with in banks, audit firms, consultancies, etc. But trust me, over time, say after 7-10 years, the gap shrinks remarkably as the other folks become senior managers, vice presidents & directors while their oil & gas folks have barely got 1 or 2 promotions. In fact, it gets to a level where the oil & gas folks simply just take a backseat when it comes to remuneration!
So, the next time you are about to call/text/ping that oil & gas bobo for some cash, remember he doesn’t have a tree of money behind his house! Wink wink…
- Job For LIFE, & PENSION Waiting When You Are Tired
This is a very big BOBO.COM. This may have been true some 10-20 years ago. But today, it is mere wishful thinking. Going by the recent tsunami in the oil & gas sector globally, it is increasingly evident that staff turnover in the global oil & gas business has continued to rise & job security is in danger of extinction. Specifically in Nigeria, with the PIB on the cards, the sharp drop in oil prices, the divestment of interests in oil & gas fields, oil theft, sabotage & vandalisation of oil & gas facilities, OIL & GAS JOBS ARE NO LONGER SECURE!
In Nigeria in recent times, oil & gas giants have shed off significant weight & footprint , and will continue to do so in the short- & medium-term to stay afloat. So, if you are one of those looking for a job for life & think oil & gas is it, you had better have a serious rethink…
- DRINK COFEE, HAVE FUN, GO HOME AT 4PM & GET CRAZY BANK ALERTS AT MONTH-END
Sorry to disappoint you if you happen to have this as part of your fantasies. The bitter truth is that, you will work for every single Kobo you will have to earn. I know of a lot of friends who are just not available for any kind of social function whatsoever. They are sleeping in the office till 11pm, working over the weekends & on public holidays & sleeping over in hotels to meet endless deadlines. It's a rat-race over there!
Oil & gas companies are not Santa Claus. No, they are not. They will drive the principle of quid pro quo (one thing in exchange for another) to the very edge of sanity. You earn exactly what you earn in sweat & blood. No freebies. If you have any shadow of a doubt, then get in there & see for yourself!
- PROMOTIONS, TRAINING & OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS ARE ALL AT YOUR FEET
This again is another BOBO.COM!
The average number of years before a promotion in most oil & gas companies is 3-5 years. And that's if you are talented, a high-flier, hard working and have the odds neatly stacked well in your favour. There is no such thing as 'marking of time' like you would find in government ministries or elsewhere. You can find yourself not seeing a promotion in 10 years. And that's the reality for a whole lot of people!
Training is increasingly hard to come by these days as many of these companies are struggling to keep their unit operating costs low in the face of low oil price & inadequate funding. Unlike in the past, it's tough to get overseas training these days. Many training programmes have been designed to happen in-house & in-country. At best, you go to a luxury or not-so-luxury hotel & at worst, you do it right in the same meeting room just close to your dirty desk. It doesn't even end there; chances are that you may just have to click a link to do it online right at your desk!
For international assignments, all I will say is that the reality is simple: it's just not for everyone. According to industry researchers & insiders, only an estimated 4%-9% of the staff on the company's payroll will ever get an opportunity throughout their career. Tellingly, you may just be surprised to hear that there are people out there who have worked for oil & gas majors for over 20years & have never had the privilege nor the opportunity of going on a company-sponsored overseas trip to Benin Republic, let alone on an international assignment!
So, before you get into an oil & gas company and get really disenchanted, maybe it's safer for you just learn to manage your expectations…
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By Isaac Audu-Usman