7 Reasons Austin is the Best Place to Start Your Career

Austin, Texas, has won a wealth of accolades as of late. Forbes named it the number one city for job growth in 2015 and the Milken Institute called it the best performing city in the US. Take a closer look to see why Austin's the perfect place to start or grow your career.

1. Impressive Employment Landscape

View of downtown Austin

Image via Flickr by StuSeeger

Austin's employment landscape is one of the most impressive in the country. The average salary in Austin sits at $64,000. Workers in the lucrative tech industry do better, raking in an average of $89,680 annually.

Plenty of residents can claim a piece of that pie, with jobs in Austin and surrounding areas growing by 3.6 percent between September 2013 and September 2014. That led Austin to be named one of the most robust job markets of the year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Austin's unemployment rate of just 3.9 percent in September 2014 was two whole percentage points lower than the rest of the nation.

2. Growing Tech Scene

Silicon Valley might be America's technology hub, but Austin is threatening the Californian region for the crown. The city boasts around 2,600 technology companies which employ approximately 50,000 locals.

A variety of leading multinational companies call Austin home. Estimates suggest that around one-third of the companies moving to Texas originally hail from California. High-profile firms are among those who've escaped the high business costs of the Golden State. As an added sweetener, the Texas Enterprise Fund, the largest "deal-closing" fund in the United States, helps many of these firms with relocation expenses.

Techies looking to get in on the ground floor may be interested to note that many start-ups coming out of the University of Texas are thriving. Larger companies and smart entrepreneurs are moving to Austin in droves from leading tech locales like Silicon Valley and New York. Wanting to give back to their new homes, many are helping fund the exciting new tech endeavors they find there, including DIY marketing firms, pricing optimization services, and gaming companys. Start-ups are also nurtured at local think tanks like the Austin Technology Incubator and Capital Factory. That's made Austin one of the go-to spots for tech start-ups in the country.

Established firms and new players can also take advantage of $19 billion in annual grants offered by the state of Texas, more than any other state in the union. The Emerging Technology Fund, which provides grants for product development, public-private partnerships, and research talent recruitment, emphasizes the state's commitment to its technology industry. So far, it's handed out more than $410 million and created more than 54,000 jobs.

3. Strong Life Sciences Industries

There's more than hardware and software to Austin. A range of organizations in the life sciences sector are working in harmony with the city's strong technology infrastructure. Established local companies as well as emerging organizations, are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. In fact, the city is home to nearly 200 life sciences companies working with medical devices and diagnostics, biologics and biotech, contract research organizations, pharmaceuticals, and more. The industry is set to get even stronger with the 2016 opening of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

4. Other Industries Also on the Up

While technology and life sciences are Austin's largest industry sectors, some of the city's most rapid growth has been in other fields. The most significant rise has been in leisure and hospitality, where jobs have increased by 7.2 percent. They've also grown by 6.9 percent in professional and business services and by 5.8 percent in the trade, transport, and utility sectors.

5. An Educated Population

The people of Austin are some of the most educated in the country. These brilliant minds ensure that local industries continue to innovate and grow. They also provide a ready pool of recruiting talent that relocating companies can take advantage of.

The strong education sector also creates plenty of jobs in local schools and universities. The Austin Independent School District has around 86,000 students at its 124 schools, making it the fifth-largest school district in the state. Over the last five years, its student numbers have swelled by 6 percent. The University of Texas in Austin also employs more than 24,000 faculty members.

6. Low Cost of Living

The cost of doing business in Austin isn't the only thing that is low. The general cost of living is another big draw for residents. Groceries, transport, and utilities all cost less in Austin than the national average. Healthcare is also significantly cheaper than in other large American cities, and housing is around a third of the price they are paying in Silicon Valley.

There is also no corporate or personal income tax in the state of Texas. Only the residents of South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming pay less tax on their personal income.

No wonder Austin is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan cities in the United States. This year it took the title on Forbes' annual list of America's Fastest-Growing Cities for the fourth consecutive year. Its population growth rate in 2013 was estimated at 2.5 percent, higher than any other region in the United States. In turn, its economy expanded by 5.88 percent over the last year.

7. Booming Infrastructure

Austin's infrastructure is growing to meet its booming population. A $500 million development spanning 1.4 million square feet along Waller Creek is the most ambitious of the plans. The proposed development featuring three skyscrapers will boast office space, apartments and condos, a hotel, retail outlets, and restaurants.

Next year the University of Texas will open its new Parkland Memorial Hospital, a $1.3 million project that is just one of many new medical facilities in the works.

These new developments will not just enhance the lives of locals but also strengthen the city's already thriving economy by providing countless new job opportunities.

For these reasons and more, Austin, Texas is the perfect American city for job seekers and anyone looking to kickstart their careers.

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Hale

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