How to Become a Company Man in the Oilfield?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Gaining experience working in various oilfield positions is critical to becoming a company man. Working as a Wireline Field Specialist provides valuable hands-on experience.
  • Developing problem-solving skills, mechanical aptitude, and machinery handling abilities will help you advance and become a company man.
  • Consider becoming a specialist “floating foreman” who can solve complex drilling problems or a “rig manager” who oversees all rig operations.
  • Check job boards like Rigzone and Indeed regularly for company man openings. Be prepared to go through a rigorous interview process.
  • Hands-on experience, specialized technical skills, and proven leadership abilities are key factors companies look for in hiring company men.


Landing a job as a company man in the thriving oilfield industry can be an extremely lucrative and rewarding career move. However, becoming a company man requires dedication, substantial experience, and specialized expertise. This comprehensive guide will evaluate all the critical steps and qualifications needed to transition into the esteemed role of company man within the oilfield domain.

By providing insights from industry experts and real-world examples, this article aims to act as a detailed roadmap for those aspiring to reach the pinnacle of the oilfield profession. It will analyze the progression of roles leading up to company man, the specific technical capabilities required, and proactive steps one can take to get their foot in the door. Readers will gain invaluable perspective on how oilfield leaders are molded and the journey it takes to manage entire rig crews.

Equipped with this knowledge, individuals will be empowered in their quest to become respected oilmen with high earning potential. The oilfield is rife with opportunities, but landing the top job takes much more than luck. Through the actionable guidance this piece provides, the goal is to turn motivated individuals into capable company men.

Stepping Stones to Becoming an Oilfield Company Man

Gain Broad Experience Across Oilfield Roles

Most company men have a well-rounded foundation, having been exposed to the oilfield’s various operational facets. Before managing entire drilling sites, they’ve often worked their way up through hands-on roles like:

  • Roughneck: Performing general manual labor on the rig floor under the Driller’s supervision.
  • Lease Operator: Responsible for overseeing pumping, gauging, and maintenance on the well lease.
  • Wireline Field Specialist: Executing wireline services on well sites, like pipe recovery and reservoir evaluation.

According to industry veterans, working as a Wireline Field Specialist provides particularly valuable experience for prospective company men. Wearing multiple hats and interfacing with various stakeholders gives insights into how the broad oilfield ecosystem meshes together.

Well Workover Consultant Ron Baker confirms, “Working in specialties like wireline opens up new perspectives. Knowing the jobs other folks juggle out on the field is tremendously helpful as a company man.”

This well-rounded foundation establishes credibility and leadership skills that are difficult to obtain in classroom settings. Oilfield is founded on grit, sweat, and practical know-how. Get ready to put in the grunt work!

Develop Specialized Skills and Machinery Expertise

While a broad base is key, prospective company men must also distinguish themselves by cultivating niche skill sets and leadership traits. As you garner experience, focus on developing:

Mechanical aptitude and technical prowess: Facility with equipment, diagnosing issues, and guiding repairs. Knowledge to make sound operational decisions.

Interpersonal skills: Ability to mediate disputes, resolve conflicts, and extract the best from your crew. Charisma mixed with gravitas.

Money management: Overseeing budgets, payrolls, vendors, and general financing elements for the entire rig. Meticulous tracking abilities.

Critical thinking and dynamic problem solving: Assessing complex scenarios on the fly and responding decisively even with imperfect information. Creative thinking.

Machinery expertise: Intimate familiarity with drilling equipment and workflows. Fluidity in oilfield vernacular and concepts.

Cultivating these abilities takes time, but sets you up to take on the most ambitious field leadership roles. Some specialists even receive additional training to operate drilling machinery. This machinery expertise lends them credibility in directing drilling operations.

Shoot for mastery rather than mediocrity. Let each role strengthen your leadership talents!

Earn Promotion to “Floating Foreman”

After rounding out your experience and skills, the next milestone is being promoted to a specialist “floating foreman.” These foremen are skilled at resolving the oilfield’s most complex drilling issues. According to Rigzone, they possess:

  • Sharp troubleshooting abilities and analytical thinking
  • Strong engineering knowledge
  • Keen crisis management skills
  • A knack for optimizing drilling practices
  • The flexibility to operate at any site on short notice

Earning the promotion to floating foreman signals your readiness for company man responsibilities. Companies will take notice of your gravitas and poise in high-pressure scenarios. You are now a true oilfield wizard, able to parachute into the trickiest drilling sites and spearhead solutions.

Some may receive further training to become an elite ”rig manager” , directing all operations on a given oil rig. This role offers additional preparation for the company man job.

Pursue Company Man Job Openings

Once you’ve gained broad experience and a track record of drilling success, it’s time to actively pursue company man openings.

Regularly monitor leading oilfield job boards such as Rigzone and Indeed for promising openings. Utilize your network to gain exposure to unlisted opportunities. Attend industry events and connect with company representatives to get your name circulating.

When an appealing opening arises, thoroughly prep for the demanding interview process. Highlight your specialized expertise, leadership competencies, and wealth of field exposure.

With diligence and a bit of luck, before long you’ll land your first Company Man role! Expect a thrilling ride ahead.

Tailor Your Skills to Earn the Role

Becoming a company man is no small feat, but can be achieved by gaining well-rounded experience while building up in-demand niche skills. Patience and perseverance is critical.

When the time arrives, flaunt your compelling resume and ace those interviews. Before you know it, you’ll be empowered to lead entire rig crews onwards to drilling victory!

Frequently Asked Questions

What education do you need to be a company man?

While some company men hold petroleum engineering degrees, many are promoted based on experience alone. Hands-on exposure and proven leadership abilities tend to be valued most. Some complete certifications like RigPass to strengthen their resume. Overall, capability trumps credentials when getting promoted to company man.

What companies hire the most company men?

Major oilfield services firms like Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Schlumberger employ company men in droves. Independent exploration & production firms like EOG Resources and ConocoPhillips also recruit company men. Energy giants like ExxonMobil and Shell commonly hire company men too. Opportunities abound at medium enterprises across the oilfield as well.

What are the day-to-day duties of a company man?

Company men oversee all operations on the worksite. Key duties include: inspecting equipment, managing crews, liaising between stakeholders, optimizing drilling plans, troubleshooting issues, monitoring costs and timelines, documenting rig activities and performance, and ensuring safety and compliance. The role offers tremendous authority along with its responsibilities.

How much do company men earn?

According to Rigzone, company men earn an average salary between $130,000 – $150,000. With bonuses and mileage reimbursement, total compensation often exceeds $200,000. The highest earners can take home $300,000+ per year. Salary varies based on experience, firm size, and region. Company men enjoy pay reflecting their immense contributions.

What skills make a good company man?

Excellent company men boast leadership ability, people skills, technical expertise, problem-solving prowess, critical thinking, and communication skills. A sharp business sense also distinguishes top company men. Overall, the role demands a diverse set of hard and soft skills combined with tremendous field experience.


Becoming an oilfield company man takes extensive experience, targeted skills growth, and an entrepreneurial spirit. One must truly earn their spot through strong contributions across various rig roles. Once promoted, company men bear massive responsibilities but also earn commensurate rewards.

For motivated individuals, the oilfield offers immense opportunities to gain broad exposure before moving into leadership. With grit and patience, the company man role is an achievable goal in this high-velocity industry. Utilize this guide to chart your course, build the right competencies, and land your dream job overseeing entire drilling operations.

The fulfilling supply chain profession awaits you. Harness your potential, strive for greatness, and soon you’ll be empowered to steer the oilfield into a bright future. The industry needs more capable leaders – with the right approach, that could soon be you!

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