Subsea, piping and drilling engineers are paid the highest salaries amongst oil and gas industry professionals, according to a recent study.

The Oil and Gas Global Salary Guide 2012 surveyed more than 14,000 industry professionals in 24 disciplines across the globe. It was produced by Hays Oil & Gas, a global specialist recruiting group, along with the jobsite Oil and Gas Job Search.

Subsea engineers were the highest paid of all disciplines surveyed and can expect average salaries of between $105,200 and $146,900, depending on levels of skill and experience.

Drilling engineers in particular have seen effective year-on-year salary gains, with senior professionals now averaging salaries of $98,000 per annum, while the survey found that manager level staff can expect to earn around $142,500.

Reservoir and petroleum engineers also commanded impressive salaries, with senior level practitioners earning an average annual wage of $97,800 and manager level professionals in this area receiving $123,400.

Hays Oil & Gas managing director Matt Underhill said: "It is very encouraging news for engineering professionals, as well as the industry itself as it reflects the increasing levels of confidence and activity over the last year and into 2012.

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"These are figures for average salaries across the world and there will be many highly skilled engineering professionals earning considerably more, particularly those in high paying countries such as Australia, the US and Norway.

"It is also worth noting that around 40% of engineers are contractors, which shows an industry that is bringing a wealth of new projects online."

Oil and Gas Job Search managing director Duncan Freer added: "There has also been a significant and welcome demand for graduate level engineers, which was not the case in recent years. Skills shortages have been a major concern for the continuing health of the industry and this change is a step in the right direction."

In addition, the survey found that employer confidence has increased, with 26.7% of participants answering that they are extremely positive about the current market, up from just 9.7% in 2011.