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Hiring Trends in Texas: Positions in Demand

In January 2012, Texas’ unemployment rate hit its lowest point since April 2009. So says a March 9th Texas Workforce Commission press release, “Texas Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.3 Percent.” Texas has remained below the national unemployment rate for 61 months.

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken points to an encouraging economic growth trend in Texas. But where is that growth? What positions are Texas companies filling? From an employer’s perspective, hiring patterns provide a window into the local market and help in planning to meet pent-up demand for workers.

This article takes a look at the administrative, professional, and technical positions most sought-after by Texas companies in recent month—September 2011 through February 2012. WANTED Analytics™ supplies much of the data presented here. WANTED collects detailed hiring data by measuring conditions in local job markets. They compile the data based on online job postings aggregated from more than 2,000 sites, including job boards and corporate sites.

Overall Hiring in Texas

The following table shows the number of postings for Texas jobs over the six-month period mentioned above for administrative, professional, and technical hiring:

Texas Hiring Data

Month

Administrative

Professional

Technical

Total

Year-Over-Year Change

Sep-11

1,076

1,224

17,744

20,044

25.82%

Oct-11

1,082

1,363

17,314

19,759

22.96%

Nov-11

1,022

1,318

16,241

18,581

26.95%

Dec-11

920

1,117

14,288

16,325

22.81%

Jan-12

1,344

1,444

18,719

21,507

22.08%

Feb-12

1,272

1,449

18,476

21,197

27.02%

       Total

6,716

7,915

102,782

117,413

24.63%

The table’s “Year-Over-Year Change” column shows the rate of increase for the total number of job postings for that period, compared to postings for that period a year ago. For example, the total number of postings for September 2011 (20,044) is up 25.82 percent compared to total postings in September 2010.

The substantial increase in Texas’ online want ads bears out this comment from WANTED Analytics™ CEO Bruce Murray: “Hiring activity in Texas for information technology workers and managers in general has been climbing. For the first time, demand has now exceeded the peak that we saw prior to the financial downturn in 2008.”

Looking at Texas job postings against a broader backdrop of the last four years reinforces the story of an upward trend in Texas for administrative, professional, and technical positions. Figure 1: Four-Year Hiring Demand, shows month-by-month posting volume in Texas for the three hiring areas combined.

Figure 1: Four-Year Hiring Demand. Job postings are on the rise in Texas for administrative, professional, and technical positions.

Administrative Positions

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, professional and business services topped the list of Texas’ major industries adding jobs in January 2012. With an annual growth rate of 5.3 percent, this industry added 69,000 Texas jobs in January alone. Among business services are the administrative positions that form the backbone of many smoothly-run operations.

WANTED Analytics™ has identified the following administrative positions as Texas’ most in-demand in recent months:

1.       Administrative Assistant

2.       Receptionist

3.       Bookkeeper

4.       Office Manager

5.       Data Entry Clerk

Professional Positions

U.S. corporate profits are on the upswing, and this is an indicator of growing demand for executive and top management staff. This is the word from Hoovers™, a Dun & Bradstreet company that provides industry analysis services and tools.

In Texas, the job posting numbers from WANTED Analytics™ show the following are the most-wanted professional workers for the September-through-February period:

1.       Executive Director

2.       Vice President of Operations

3.       Vice President

4.       Chief Executive Officer

5.       President

Technical Positions

Ranked as second-largest cyberstate by TechAmerica Foundation last year, Texas is second only to California in the size and scope of its high-tech industry. TechAmerica made this designation in 14th yearly report in October 2011: “Cyberstates 2011: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. High-Tech Industry.”

The following are the technical positions with most job ads, according to WANTED Analytics™:

1.       Computer Systems Analysts

2.       Web Developers

3.       Network and Computer Systems Administrators

4.       Computer Support Specialists

5.       Computer Software Engineers, Applications

Conclusion

While hiring overall is gathering momentum, tech is still king in Texas, as shown in Figure 2, Occupation Comparison. Figure 2 compares the number of Texas job postings for the three areas discussed in this article: administrative (depicted in Figure 2 as Office and Administrative Support Occ.), professional (Management Occupations), and technical (Computer and Mathematical Occupations) over a four-year period. The picture is clear—Hiring activity in technical fields is far more intense than in the other two areas.

Figure 2: Occupation Comparison. The number of job postings for technical talent far outstrips that of postings for administrative and professional professionals.

If current trends are an indication—and they are—statewide hiring overall will continue to snowball. Although the high-tech sector is a cornerstone of economic growth in Texas, long-term economic stability also requires proficient administrative support and top-notch leadership.

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