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2013 Salary Trends in Texas

It’s a job seeker’s market in Texas. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports unemployment is at its lowest rate in four years and, according to WANTED Analytics™, overall hiring demand in Texas has sharply increased in the past three months: Houston (10.4 percent), Dallas (19 percent) and Austin (8.7 percent). This great turn of events comes at a price for employers: Finding candidates at “discount” rates is no longer likely. We took a look at current salary trends in three of Texas’ major professions: finance and accounting, engineering/QA, and information technology. The data used is based primarily on WANTED Analytics™ hiring data compiled in early February 2013, collected by measuring conditions in local job markets and compiling the data based on online job postings aggregated from more than 2,000 sites, including job boards and corporate sites.

Finance and Accounting

The job market for those seeking finance and accounting talent in Texas is quite balanced, with about the same amount of candidates as open positions both nationally and statewide. However, if you’re a Texas-based employer seeking an accountant or senior accountant, be prepared to face competition. In Texas, accountants and senior accountants are currently the most sought-after professional titles in the finance and accounting field, with more than twice as many available job openings as finance analyst and business analyst openings combined. And the break-out stars among these professionals are those with Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. CPAs outrank other non-executive finance and accounting professionals in advertised salary by about 9 percent, with listed salaries averaging $80,300 statewide.

Engineering

In the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) report, engineers are listed as the top paid non-C-suite, non-medical professionals in Texas, with petroleum engineers coming in above financial managers and computer and IS managers in average salaries.

WANTED Analytics data supports this finding, hinting at an interesting challenge for those looking to hire Texas engineers in 2013: While the ease of filling a position in engineering looks promising (meaning the amount of candidates matches the amount of job openings, with mechanical engineering and electrical engineering leading the charge), it’s one of the only industries we reviewed in which the salary requirements in Texas surpass those nationally, currently by about $10,000.

You can look to Houston, TX, as the epicenter of this trend: The major energy and manufacturing hub continues to cause high salary demands for engineers to radiate out through the state. Quite simply—the closer you are to Houston, the higher you will pay for certain engineers. Engineering salaries in Beaumont, TX—where unemployment is among the highest in the state—outrank Austin, TX and Dallas, TX. Based on current job listings, process engineers in Beaumont are being offered about $90,000 and mechanical engineers can expect at least $95,000.

Information Technology

The industry in highest demand in Texas remains information technology with Dell, General Motors Corporation, IBM, AT&T, and Rackspace leading the way in direct hiring statewide. Among IT professionals filling these positions, the most in-demand are Java developers, with more than 6,500 jobs currently open bearing that title. Salaries for Java developers are highest in the Dallas area, at a range of $92,000 – $112,000.

What’s more, the most popular IT skill sought by employers in Texas is Structured Query Language (SQL) experience among both Java developers and .net developers. On average, Texas employers are offering about $5,000 more for SQL knowledgeable candidates compared to other IT professionals.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

If you haven’t reviewed your salary structures for 2013, do so. A 2012-2013 Culpepper Salary Budget & Compensation Planning Survey outlines that more than 90 percent of companies worldwide review base salaries annually and that base salary increases in the U.S. are projected to rise 3 percent in 2013. What’s more: the percentage of companies freezing salaries across all jobs and locations is projected to sharply decline to 2 percent in 2013, a level not seen since before the global economic crisis unfolded in late 2008.

Couple this global optimism with a thriving Texas job scene, and pulling out all the stops on your current salary structures may be necessary. This includes re-evaluating both pay levels and job structures to find the combination that will attract the best talent. Now may also be the time to explore partnering with a third-party recruiting agency.  Partnering with a staffing agency can increase your access to great talent and lower costs associate with positions being unfilled long-term.

Image Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

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