There are several job hierarchies in the oil industry. The lowest job on the team of rig employees is the roustabout. Roustabouts are unskilled laborers who are just learning their trade in the oil industry. Their primary job is cleaning and maintaining the oil rig. Roustabouts are responsible for moving and stowing supplies that arrive to the rig by boat or helicopter. They are also responsible for cleaning, scrubbing, and scraping the rig and keeping it free of hazards such as loose equipment and tools. Almost all jobs performed by roustabouts require little training but can still be labor-intensive. What's more, due to the nature of the industry, roustabouts must also work under a variety of weather conditions.
Roustabouts work as a team under the supervision of a roughneck boss. While roustabouts start out as low-level entry workers, after several months they may gain enough experience to be promoted to a roughneck where they work on more specialized tasks related directly to drilling. The hours that roustabouts work can be long and hard so employees need to be in prime physical shape.
On an oil rig, there are usually three or four teams working at a time. Each team has anywhere from two to three roustabouts assisting them. During their shifts, which can be either eight hours or twelve hours, roustabouts might be required to dig holes or ditches, pour concrete for slabs, assembling and repairing oil derricks, scrap and clean rust off of equipment, and just about any other duty the boss assigns them.
Roustabouts are jobs for people who have lots of energy and a good positive attitude. The nature of the work can be sometimes grueling which is compounded if you have a negative attitude. You certainly don't need a degree to find a job as a roustabout but most companies demand a high school diploma or GED. Roustabouts earn around $300 a day depending on company and location. The average annual salary is $42,000 a year. This does include benefits and medical insurance as well as paid travel to and from offshore oil rigs.
A camp boss, or caterer, is a very important position in any community within the oil industry. It is a well known adage that an army travels on its stomach, and surely, so do employees working on an oil field or an oil rig. Not only is it...