Houston still has jobs for the taking

June 10, 2008 7:27:29 PM PDT
If the economy has you worried about your job, there is good news, you are in the right city to find a new career.The numbers don't lie. Unemployment locally is around 4%, that's below the national average. If you find yourself looking for a new job here a are a few fields that can survive a recession.

Job seekers and potential employers can be a match made in heaven, but sometimes finding the right job can be a struggle.

"Getting call backs has been real hard right now," said job seeker Michelle Washington.

Washington has worked for temp agencies while searching for a permanent position. Because she is after an administrative job, experts say there are opportunities for her all over Houston right now.

"Employers are still looking at every level," said Fritz Lawson with Jobing.com.

Lawson's company is hosting this job fare, and he says there are fields that are recession proof such as law enforcement, health care and education.

Take Texas Children's Hospital. They're adding a new hospital in the Katy area and need to fill all kinds of positions, from highly skilled to entry level.

"Of course we are looking for RN's and LVN's but we recruit for all positions, from file clerk to administrative secretaries, all the way up," said Barbara Barrios with the hospital.

That sounds good to Charlotte Le Blanc, who made Texas Children's one of her first stops at the fare.

"I have a great job now actually but I am looking at new avenues, what's out there, that sort of thing," she told us.

An entry level worker can expect a salary in the $8 to $9 range, but it goes up from there. Another field needing workers right away is trucking.

"I would like to get about 200 applications today so I can start building my pipe line," said Alfredo Esparza with Alliance Leasing Company. "We have school every Monday and I would like to get 20 or 30 in school every Monday."

Alliance pays for commercial driver's license classes and can get applicants on the road within weeks. Career experts say those looking for new employment can certainly find it here.

"On a national level, we are hearing news of a recession and slowing economy and slow rate of employment," Lawson told us. "But here locally in Houston we are experiencing a very robust job seeker market."

The employers we spoke with said they have positions for highly skilled workers, all the way down to high school graduates. Most places have training, obviously if you have engineering and mechanical skills, you are in demand. But as you might imagine the industries with the biggest demand are oil and gas.

"We currently have a $9.9 billion backlog and all that equipment is going to be delivered in the next couple of years," said David Kibler with the National Oilwell Varco.

"Since we are focusing on the deep water we are probably going to hire over the next three years to support our off shore deep water ships we are building," said Debra Knox with Pride. "Probably about 2,000 plus employees."

Oil and gas does not just mean pipes and platforms. A lot of companies are looking for white collar workers too.

"We've probably almost doubled our corporate head quarters to support our off shore business," Knox said.

Of course the oil and gas fields need hands on workers too. National Oilwell Varco is looking for a full range of workers who can be sent all over the world.

"We are looking for people with the basic skill set of hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, marine electronically," Kibler said.

The employers we spoke with said they have positions for highly skilled workers, all the way down to high school graduates. Most places have training, obviously if you have engineering and mechanical skills, you are in demand.

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