New Orleans ranks among the top 15 metro areas for job hunters in 2018, a study by a top employment website says, the latest indication the region’s economy continues to expand and evolve to create opportunities for workers across multiple industries.
The study by jobs website Indeed.com analyzed data for the 50 metro areas with the most job postings and ranked them based on how favorable the local labor market is to job seekers, average salaries adjusted for cost of living, work-life balance, and job security and advancement opportunities.
New Orleans came in 14th in the study, thanks to high rankings for work-life balance and job security and advancement. The Crescent City was second among metro areas in the South, trailing only Austin, Texas, which ranked 12th overall.
“These rankings are keying in to the fact that New Orleans is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country,” says Greater New Orleans President and CEO Michael Hecht. “For people with talent and ambition, there’s as much upside in southeast Louisiana as anywhere in the country right now.”
Here’s a look at what makes the region so attractive to job seekers.
New Orleans has led the nation in technology job growth since 2012, powered by multiple major projects from large tech firms. In November, DXC Technology announced it will create 2,000 direct jobs in New Orleans over the next five years in what will become Louisiana’s largest technology-focused economic development project to date. Austin-based tech firm Accruent announced last month that it will expand to New Orleans and hire 350 employees in the next two years with an average annual salary of $65,000, plus benefits.
These projects, along with numerous others, have made New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana one of the fastest-growing software and IT destinations in the U.S. “It appears that the country and the world is beginning to discover the low-cost, high-culture environment here,” Hecht says. “You can get the same types of opportunities as you would in the Bay Area or Austin and live like a king or queen.”
New Orleans also ranks among the leaders nationally in women and minority participation in the technology sector. Women and men in tech jobs in the region earn the same amount of money, and women fill roughly 35 percent of the overall positions, considerably higher than most metro areas. “We call this inclusive innovation, where we are accessing the entire workforce for our tech growth,” Hecht says.
The growing job opportunities in the New Orleans region extend well beyond the tech sector and into longstanding areas of strength, as well as some emerging industries.
The region is No. 1 in the country for health care job growth, with employment rising by more than 25 percent over the past five years. This unprecedented spike is being driven by billions of dollars in investment coming from major projects from University Medical Center, Ochsner and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. Hecht says the job demand in the health care sector extends to all skill levels. “It’s everything from nurses to medical assistants to neurosurgeons,” he says.
Even the region’s traditional economic powerhouses, such as petrochemical manufacturing, are growing and poised for further expansion. Formosa Petrochemical in April announced plans to build a $9.4 billion chemical manufacturing complex St. James Parish on a 2,400-acre site along the west bank of the Mississippi River. The project is expected to generate 1,200 direct jobs with average salaries of $84,500, plus benefits.
The emerging field of water management is proving to be a growth area for the region as well, Hecht says. A 2016 report from Greater New Orleans said the water management and coastal restoration sector employs 30,350 people in the region and is projected to grow 23 percent over the next decade. “We have not only the opportunity to save our coast but to provide services to the rest of the world,” Hecht says.
Such wide-ranging job growth is increasing opportunities for long-term employment and advancement in the region, a dynamic that was reflected in the Indeed.com analysis, which ranked New Orleans seventh in job security and advancement. “This is simply a high-demand market right now, and people that discover that can get in early and enjoy that ride,” Hecht says.
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