Mewbourne graduates face uncertain job market

Gabriel Stilwell

Petroleum engineering students face an uncertain and constantly shifting job market after graduation, especially international students.

In the wake of incidents like crude oil price crashes and imports being affected by foreign affairs, the American oil industry constantly changes, resulting in lay-offs and no new jobs some years. For international students, there are more hurdles to get over.

Sergio Gomez, a graduate student at OU’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, entered the graduate program because he couldn’t find a job in oil. Returning to school was the only way for him to stay in the United States.

According to Sergio, plenty of people he graduated with did find employment, so long as they were U.S. citizens or had green cards. The hiring process for international students requires some extra and more arduous steps.

“If a company wants to hire us, they will need to hire lawyers and do a lot of paper work in which they argue why we’re the only candidate for that position and say why they could not find an American to fill that position,” Sergio said.

The expensive and time-consuming process makes hiring internationals difficult, according to Sergio, especially with the uncertainty of the market and the fluctuating prices of oil.

On top of preexisting concerns, Hurricane Harvey shut down 16 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity after it swept through Houston and damaged several refineries, according to Goldman Sachs, making the market even less stable.