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How to Pay Off Those Student Loans: Brown Jobs

For young college grads, things aren’t looking so bright right now. Youth unemployment is high, entry-level wages are low, and student loans have reached a record high at exactly the moment when grads’ ability to pay is lowest. But for those willing to take a few steps off the beaten path, there is one place where jobs are plentiful and salaries are rising: offshore oil rigs. The rapid expansion of offshore drilling has left energy companies scrambling to find people to do the hard work of manning the rigs, and pay is increasing accordingly. Reuters reports:

“What we are seeing now is an acute shortage of people actually with applied skills, from engineering or chemical backgrounds,” James said.

“Even if the skills do exist globally, they don’t necessarily exist in the place that is needed. So what we are doing is we are picking up people from all corners of the world and we are sticking them into projects, whether it’s short-term or medium-term, but where they can earn reasonable money, live in a different country, live offshore, whatever that may be.” . . .

The labour crunch has already seen pay for a roustabout, the least skilled worker on a rig, nearly double in the past five years to $18-$20 an hour. A roughneck, a rank higher, earns about $27-$28, said Roberts, the U.S. rig manager.

Naturally, this will involve leaving the hip urban centers to which so many young people are drawn. But with the burden of student loans and an otherwise weak job market for grads, there’s a good deal of upside here, if you can hack the isolation and irregular hours of working on a rig.

Brown jobs continue to be one of the few bright spots in a shaky recovery.

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