What are offshore jobs? What do people mean when they talk about offshore jobs? Well, different people mean different thing when they use this phrase. At its broadest meaning, offshore jobs means any job which is not on the mainland of wherever you are staying. It could mean a job on an offshore oil rig or it could mean a job on some island belonging to another country. For someone residing in the US, a job in the Cayman Islands or Singapore would be offshore, and so would a job on an oil rig just off the coast of one of the Gulf states.
Why should it matter? For two reasons, really. The first is taxation. There are certain laws in the US meant to encourage citizens to take on hardship or risky postings out of the border. If your lawyer and accountant agree that your job falls under this category, you may be able to get a pretty hefty tax deduction. At one point of time, you could deduct up to $80,000 per annum. If you were a roustabout working on a deep sea oil rig and earning $80,000 per year, this meant you didn’t need to pay any income taxes at all. Obviously, you’ll need to check with your lawyer and accountant and get them to do the appropriate paperwork.
The second important reason is that an offshore job typically pays better than its equivalent onshore job. You’ll get paid more as a driller on a deep sea oil rig than a driller on an onshore oil rig. Same with the support jobs like electricians and mechanics. The offshore pay is much better, especially nowadays when the entire oil industry is facing a severe shortage of warm bodies to crew their new oil rigs.
So why do oil companies pay more for offshore work? From the economics point of view, it is a simple matter of demand and supply. Right now, oil prices are high and getting higher. Most of the oil is under the ocean, so oil companies are desperately building offshore oil rigs and deep sea oil rigs. While robots work okay in the limited confines of a factory, oil rigs still can’t be automated. They still need human crew to operate them. Hence the great demand for workers. Unfortunately for the oil companies, the people who have the qualities needed to work on an offshore oil rig are pretty scarce. You need to have a combination of guts, brains and physical strength. Not many people have all three. So we have high demand and low supply, which results in sky-high pay. Someone who is basically a laborer can earn more than the director of a small company.
Apart from that, an offshore oil rig is considered a hard and potentially dangerous posting. You need to keep this in mind while the dollar signs are dancing in front of your eyes. While modern rigs are undoubtedly safer than the oil rigs 50 years ago, you should remember that working in the middle of the ocean can get quite exciting when there is a major storm going on around you… Or an earthquake, or a tsunami (if you are just off the coast).
Now you should have a better idea of what people mean when they talk about offshore jobs and why it should matter to you.