Oil Spill Cleanup Will Mean New Jobs for Many

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The recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to dominate the headlines. The cleanup effort will be ongoing and the damage the accident has caused will need to be assessed for a long time to come. As we move through the process of recovering from the catastrophe, one thing is sure: Many people with various skills will be needed to manage the outcomes of the spill. Which means new jobs in the near future and for several years to come.

I spoke with Stephen Hinton, Managing Director of Hinton Human Capital to learn more about how the recent spill may influence the job market.


What types of jobs may become available as a result of the spill?

1. Cleanup personnel

The cleanup effort with require Hazmat-trained workers who will deal directly with the oil cleanup, veterinarian medicine professionals who will take care of the animal life, and environmental engineers, microbiologists, and biologists who will manage the cleanup in the marsh areas.


2. Government-appointed personnel

The government will need to hire damage-assessment officials to evaluate the damage to harbors and waste-water treatment facilities. These jobs may be through FEMA or the EPA.


3. Scientists including ecotoxicologists, marine and fresh water scientists

Teams will be needed to monitor the ecosystem following the disaster for at least 20 years. There are still scientists assessing the damage of the Exxon Valdez spill that occurred over 20 years ago.


4. Landfill waste management personnel

Since the oil waste will have to be disposed of in a landfill, there will be a growing need for waste management.


5. Forensic investigators

Safety experts, structural engineers, and process engineers will be needed to perform a failure analysis and determine what happened to the rig to cause the disaster.


6. Economists

Economists will be needed to analyze the economic impact of the spill.

-- See average salaries for a veterinarian, marine biologist and a Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) engineer.


Where will the jobs be posted?

British Petroleum will list a number of environmental subcontractors that will be part of the effort. The Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana State Labor Departments also have information on many of these jobs as well as information on how to apply for Hazmat training. CareerBuilder is also listing many jobs relevant to the cleanup or you can check out this information on 400 positions open for oil spill clean up.


How important/marketable are the Hazmat skills?

"Anyone dealing with the oil spill will need some level of Hazmat training. And these skills will continue to be in high demand in the future. These skills may be quite transferable to other positions such as working with environmental contractors on emergency response efforts, or in manufacturing facilities, mining facilities, energy plants, or military bases where contamination has occurred," Hinton said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental technicians will be among the top 10 fastest growing occupations over the next decade with a projected 30 percent growth. As we continue to become more environmentally conscious, these jobs will continue to grow.


Will this job growth have a ripple effect on the economy?

According to Hinton, "following the Exxon Valdez spill, 11,000 local jobs were created to support the needs of the workers that were part of the cleanup effort. Local economies may be stimulated as well, as a result of the recent oil spill."

Next:Gulf Oil Spill Likely to Kill Oil Rig Jobs, Too


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