A geologist or engineer for an oil company in houston and lafayette have the same responsibility. If you consider a job "lesser" because of less opportunity to move into an executive position or start your own company, then maybe, but I don't see it that way.
There are maybe 3 companies in Lafayette that might pay market rate - Stone, Petroquest and Marlin. The mom and pop shops won't and most geos in Lafayette are old independents trying to put conventional prospects together that no one wants to buy.
Any other company with a presence there may pay the same as Houston for similar work but there are very few of those jobs.
Houston is ultimately better pay and better opportunity.
Think about it, if you don't like the company you're with in Houston you have 500 alternatives. If you're in Lafayette....you're probably going to have to move to Houston.
ETA: And I'm from Lafayette, love it, not hating on it, just giving you the lay of the land.
This post was edited on 3/21 at 9:50 am