Singapore's oil and gas market is picking up.

The Oil & Gas Global Salary Guide, produced by recruiting company Hays Oil & Gas in partnership with specialist jobsite Oil and Gas Job Search, reveals that day rates for local labour have almost doubled in the last year.

Almost 11,000 industry professionals and recruiters from around the world participated in the survey on salaries, industry benefits, employment trends and economic outlook.

Results indicate positive worldwide growth and sentiment towards salaries in the sector.

After a difficult couple of years, local salaries across Asia have already risen by as much as 10 to 15 per cent over the past 12 months.

Salaries in the Asia-Pacific led the way globally with most other regions experiencing a flat market in terms of increases from 2009 to 2010.

The figures, which were collected during September and October last year, reflect where each country was in the recovery cycle. Average daily contract rates for local professionals in Singapore have almost doubled from $280 to $500.

This is a good indicator of the state of the job market as contract rates are much more reactive to short-term changes in demand for skills.

To have an increase of this level shows the oil and gas industry is on a strong recovery curve and is likely to boom here in 2012.

Annual salaries have also increased by more than 15 per cent, with locals earning an average US$$66,300 (S$83,530), up from US$56,700.

Conversely, annual salaries for expatriates by and large fell, a trend mirrored globally.

This fall can be attributed largely to employers using the recession to reduce payroll costs by exiting many highly paid expatriate professionals.

These repatriated professionals subsequently picked up lower paid roles in their home countries or retired from the industry altogether.

In terms of hiring, intentions are positive. More than two thirds of the employers surveyed in Asia said they expect staffing levels to rise again in the next 12 months — 34.6 per cent said they expect an increase of up to 5 per cent while 34.4 per cent expect an increase of more than 5 per cent. Only 5 per cent expect a decrease.

Consequently, there will be high demand throughout Asia as companies expand their current remits to take full advantage of the emerging market.

There is also a growing trend for companies moving into the region from the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America, which is also increasing the demand for personnel.

With oil prices on the increase, confidence in the market has strengthened.

However, there are still many employers in the region concerned about economic instability — 26 per cent said this will be the key issue the industry will have to tackle in the next 12 months. So there is still some way to go before the oil and gas labour market can feel it is back to full health.

Mr Duncan Freer, managing director of Oil and Gas Job Search, believes the results of the survey demonstrate a level of confidence.

He too is optimistic about the current employment market.

However, he does caution that the oil and gas industry needs to make a concerted effort to attract talented individuals, including new graduates, to ensure that skill shortages do not hamper its growth over the coming decade.