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Finding the right location to fit financial job skills

August 14, 2013 | Posted at 12:02 pm

When it comes to choosing a place to live, the standard mantra is location, location, location. The same adage can also be beneficial in a job search, especially when considering which city may offer the most opportunities in a specialist industry.

In terms of current hiring demand, the financial services industry is believed by many people to be in somewhat of a hot streak. While the effects of economic downturn seem to be receding into the past, the market for job seekers with finance or accounting experience is one to watch with federal data indicating that unemployment in the sector is currently at around 4.5 percent, reportedly the lowest of any industry.

Break from the norm
According to a recent survey by a financial services website, the rate of hiring is not due to the expected powerhouses on Wall Street, but thanks to the corporations and accounting firms that are snapping up full-time talent in a number of major cities, many of which would claim to be a non-traditional location for a financial professional.

Top of the list is Dallas, Texas, with the study showing that there has been an increased need for members of the accounting profession in the energy sector. Dallas has always been a hotbed for that particular industry, and with energy companies in Houston also looking to hire, moving to the Lone Star State may be worth serious consideration.

Job seekers heading to California are normally involved in some element of IT, but the report highlighted two cities that are welcoming the finance industry – San Francisco and Irvine. Both have high numbers of Fortune 500 companies – San Francisco has the highest in the country – and salaries have matched the increased employment numbers. According to the survey, the job markets are aggressive, with an increasing amount of startups and larger corporations all deciding to locate their operations there.

Wall Street may no longer exert the same pull as once it did, but New York is still a magnet for many. The Big Apple has a plethora of industries that are crying out for financial talent, with sectors such as health care, media, retail and insurance all eager to bring onboard those who would prefer to work away from the world of money management and speculation.

Alternative options
Some of the other cities on the list are also worth investigating. The report, which was based on the number of posting and job orders in each region, noted that the greatest demand was for financial analysts and controllers, with these positions seemingly unfilled across the country.

Atlanta, Seattle, Richmond, Phoenix and Chicago are all home to what the authors of the study called “a diverse mix of industries,” each of which has a particular need or requirement. Phoenix, for example, has a number of banks and credit companies, all of whom are looking for accounting experience, while Richmond, Virginia, is seen by the report as a “very well-educated and entrepreneurial market.”

On the other hand, Atlanta has also become an attractive proposition for companies specializing in IT, manufacturing and commercial real-estate, many of whom have relocated to Georgia due to a lower cost of living and proximity to an international airport hub. However, for accounting or finance professionals who have easily transferable skills across a number of industry sectors, Chicago would seem to be a viable option for job seekers looking to relocate.

“The market has been particularly strong over the last six months,” said Jodi Chavez, one of the authors of the study, according to eFinancialCareers.com. “Companies knew the work was there last year, but they didn’t know how long it would last. Their confidence was a little shaky. Now, with economic signs improving, companies are filling their needs with permanent employees.”