By Sharon Wiatt Jones
Maybe you can have it all:
- Land a well-paid job in a growth industry
- Live in a city with high job creation, flourishing business climate, diversified economy, well-known specialized industry niches, and proximity to major universities (grad school, anyone?)
- Achieve a standard of living made possible by low housing costs, short commute, and warm climate.
Salaries of all residents—techies and non-techies—are higher in innovation hubs, according to Enrico Moretti , author of The New Geography of Jobs. Most of these cities are also cited in Richard Florida’s updated book, The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, for their “technology, talent, and tolerance.” Author Joel Kotkin describes many Sunbelt metros as “opportunity cities” for their rising prominence in technology jobs.
The U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, has identified "New and emerging occupations" http://www.onetcenter.org/dl_files/NewEmergingList.pdf in 17 industries. Tech-infused ones to watch: health care, biotechnology, nanotechnology; green energy; advanced manufacturing; transportation, aerospace; information technology, education, finance, geospatial, homeland security.
Some Emerging Occupations in Major Industries
- Health Care: nurse anesthetist, informatics nurse specialist; neuropsychologist; clinical research coordinator
- Green (Environmental): sustainability specialist, water resource specialist, industrial ecologist, environmental restoration
- Biotechnology: Bioinformatics scientist, biostatistician; molecular and cellular biologist, clinical research coordinator
- Information Technology: videogame designer, electronic commerce specialist, business intelligence analyst
Rising Technology Cities: Here are my favorite Sunbelt cities for Gen Y to launch their careers: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston, TX; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL. What do they have in common?
- A high proportion of young, educated residents with a low cost of living compared to superstar metros such as New York and Los Angeles.
- Logistics hubs with many international ties (consular offices, trade, inclusion on “global cities” lists). By 2016 all will have a nearby medical school. Most are higher education meccas, especially Dallas-Fort Worth (380,000 students), Atlanta and Houston (300,000 each).
- Prominent sectors for most include IT, energy, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing
Consider emerging occupations at “most admired” or other highly ranked employers in fast-growing Sunbelt cities:
- Decision research specialist at Rackspace (locations in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas).
- Associate regulations compliance analyst for Lockheed Martin (Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando, Atlanta).
- Clinical informatics specialist or bioanalyst for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Orlando, Houston).
- Graphics software engineer at Google (Chapel Hill, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas).
- Wastewater or environmental engineer for CH2M-Hill (Houston Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Orlando, Raleigh).
Emerging Industry Niches for 7 Sunbelt Cities
Nearly all the sunny metros have nicknames that identify their distinctive strengths. Here are some highlights:
TEXAS Dallas-Fort Worth - Silicon Prairie, Telecom Corridor, Space City, Energy Corridor: Healthcare, medical research, bioengineering, IT (cloud computing, cybersecurity, GIS)
Houston - Space City, Energy Corridor: Advanced manufacturing, nanotech (computer security, digital media, education technology, data analytics, GIS); Biotech and healthcare
Austin - Silicon Hills, BioAustin: Nanotech, advanced manufacturing, information security, multimedia technology, data analytics), Life science (biotech, medical devices, biosecurity, medical research); clean energy
FLORIDA Orlando - High Tech Corridor, Space Coast, New “Medical City: Advanced manufacturing, optics and photonics, lasers, nanotechnology, aerospace, defense; Biotech and life sciences (specialty pharmaceuticals, stem cell research); Energy (clean technology, sustainable energy, solar power); IT (interactive entertainment, computer security); simulation and training
NORTH CAROLINA Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill - Bio NC, RTP, City of Medicine (Durham): Advanced manufacturing, nanotech; Energy (clean tech, renewable energy, smart grid technologies); IT (digital media, game development, GIS): Life sciences, biotechnology, clinical trials
Charlotte - The New Energy Capital: Financial services (second only to New York City), data analytics, cybersecurity; 3D printing, informatics, optical and photonics
GEORGIA Atlanta – Hotlanta: Bioscience (clinical trials, medical devices, vaccines), nanotech; IT (health IT, digital media, network security, smart grid technology, data analytics)
If you would like to learn more about growing metros with hot jobs, let me know the regions that interest you (including more in the south).