A commodity trader dealing with oil will typically sit and track the market movements in the industry and make instant decisions on whether to buy or sell thus making money for his client. This decision can be based on the smallest movement of the market.
Typical day-to-day activities of an oil trader include: monitoring world markets and following the financial news from agencies such as Reuters and Bloomberg; conducting trades either electronically or by phone; collating data on oil assets; and communicating the most important trades of the day to the relevant parties agreeing prices in their relevant products.
Oil traders will typically work more than 40 hours a week in very stressful conditions. They have to make split second decisions that can lead to millions of dollars being lost or won. For those working on a trading floor the work can be especially stressful and noisy. Those not working on the trading floor will work from offices in front of the computer and on the phone for long periods of time. Most trading work is found in the financial centers of the world, such as New York, London and Hong Kong. Those starting out as an oil or commodity trader will find the work longer hours than their superiors as they get to grips with the job.
Qualifications needed to be a trader should include a bachelor's degree in business, finance, accounting or economics. A good way to get an entry-level job is to try to work as a summer intern, which often leads to a full-time job for those who are successful. Promotion to the higher positions within trading normally requires employers to have a master's in business administration (MBA). Possession of an MBA leads to higher salaries, increased chances of promotion and larger signing bonuses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 the average salary for a commodity broker was $85,580 which is almost double the national average. Traders are paid commission on what they sell also, meaning their salaries are even higher.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the growth of the commodities trading sector is expected to grow at 9 percent which is as fast as the average for all jobs in the U.S. This is mainly down to consolidation in the financial industry resulting from the global economic downturn which has seen the number of jobs in the sector fall.