A job as an oil trader involves high levels of responsibility for which workers are well-rewarded. Maintaining a supply of oil around the world is an important role and the major companies pay good salaries for the best people. The work involves long hours and making deals under pressure, and is considered by many traders as a lifestyle as much as a career.
Companies such as BP, ExxonMobil and Shell run graduate programmes for oil traders. Although pay for entry level workers in the profession varies depending on a number of factors including education level and employer, you could have expected to earn between £33,000 and around £40,000 if you managed to bag yourself a place on one of these schemes in 2012. You'll typically need a PhD to earn towards the higher end of this scale.
According to recruitment site Monster's Salary Calculator, energy traders earned between £44,216 and £70,454 in March 2013. The median income for workers in the profession was £55,814 at this time. By way of comparison, experienced financial traders in general, a group which includes commodities, currency and stock brokers, were paid between £45,000 and £150,000 in 2012, according to the graduate careers website Prospects.
If you've been considering a career as an oil trader but these numbers aren't quite as high as you expected, don't be put off. There are big rewards available to those who make it to the top of the profession. Traders at oil firm Glencore's London office were forced to struggle by on £500,000 a year when their wages were cut by 36 percent back in 2011, according to a report from The Australian. The highest-paid director at the firm's UK operation, thought to be the then head of the oil trading, took home a cool $5.3 million the previous year, the equivalent of around £3.56 million, based on March 2013 exchange rates.
Travel and living costs
In the UK, trading jobs are mainly based in London which means that traders will have higher living expenses. Some overseas travel is required depending upon where clients are based. Some traders move into freelance work once they have sufficient experience in the trade. Commodities traders can find work in financial centers such as New York and Singapore as well as London.