Jobs That Get the Most for Their Money
Atlanta is booming — economic development, jobs, corporate relocations and higher education matriculation are all continuing to climb as more companies, professionals and students take advantage of all the Peach City has to offer in terms of quality of life. Between 2013 and 2014, Atlanta’s net job creation of 88,200 beat out Boston, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. In those same years, the average price of new homes in Atlanta was $286,196 and the average monthly apartment rent for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom place was $948, second-lowest nationally. With cost of living so low and an abundance of high-paying, expanding employment opportunities, it’s no wonder the city is growing so rapidly.
To sum it up: “Atlanta offers a variety of assets: a diverse economy and range of businesses, a competitive business climate and global and domestic access from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — with nonstop flights to approximately 150 U.S. destinations and nearly 70 international destinations,” says Gregg Simon, vice president of economic development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Additionally, Atlanta has a strong international presence with many multinational companies, a talented workforce, a low cost of living and a high quality of life. All of these assets make Atlanta an ideal place to expand or locate a business.”
According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s 2014 Workforce Trends Report, Atlanta job postings have grown two-times faster than postings nationally, with the Atlanta percentage up 83.1 percent and U.S. growth up by only 39.8 percent. Where the rest of the country may struggle to grow, Atlanta flourishes; with the surge of technology and film industry jobs in the metro area and the high quality of life Atlanta residents enjoy, certain professions are growing fast and soaring high.
Other sectors that have grown in Atlanta from 2010 to 2013 can be seen through job posting increases; hospitality jobs have grown the most at 242 percent in three years, with Internet security and wireless mobility job postings at 102 and 104 percent, respectively. The MAC’s Workforce Trend Report also states the top occupations in Atlanta in response to top postings, and software developers, specifically for applications, lead the pack by a large margin. Retail salespersons, registered nurses, computer systems analysts and marketing managers also make the list. “Registered Nurse” takes the top title in both Atlanta and the U.S. at large.
The Good Life
From Tech Village to Atlanta’s achieved nickname of the “New Silicon Valley,” tech companies are here to stay where a diverse and educated workforce is at their fingertips.
“Technology is transforming Georgia’s economy,” Mark Butler, Georgia Labor Commissioner with the Georgia Department of Labor, has said. “Not only is the information technology industry evolving rapidly and revolutionizing the way we work, it is experiencing across-the-board job growth. By the year 2022, Georgia’s information technology industry is expected to grow by over 23 percent, creating over 25,000 new jobs.”
Engineers in particular have found Atlanta to be the top city in the U.S. to settle down; a report run by Austin-based SpareFoot.com found that the average Atlanta engineer earns $113,000 with a median annual rent of $11,484 and a median home price of $170,400. This opens up a wealth of opportunity for college graduates in this field, both those matriculating in the metro area or relocating from around the country, to earn quality, high-paying positions that are flourishing in a city that is consistently ranked highest for college grads and young professionals across the board.
Not only do engineers live well in Atlanta, but they’re in high demand. From 2010 to 2013, “Software Developer Engineer” was the top title in computer IT job postings. For computer IT jobs, Atlanta’s top employers are Accenture, General Motors and Deloitte Development LLC. As one of the nation’s largest state trade associations focused on technology and innovation, the Technology Association of Georgia has been at the center of Atlanta’s phenomenal tech job boom.
“Atlanta is ranked among the top 10 fastest growing cities for tech talent and our technology sector has a total economic impact of $113.1 billion,” says Tino Mantella, TAG president and CEO. “Our sector has grown by more than 10 percent since 2010.”
TAG categorizes the emerging digital media and entertainment sector as high tech employment, with 2,600 jobs classified as high tech occupations, which merges two of Atlanta’s most prominent and exciting professions. TAG’s 2015 State of the Industry Technology in Georgia Report has found that the composition of its high-tech occupations in Atlanta’s communications and services sector are engineering and information technology, the latter of which leads the digital media and entertainment sector, followed by multimedia.
According to Lee Thomas, deputy commissioner of film, music and entertainment with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, “Atlanta offers production companies an excellent selection of filming locations, an established crew based, access to world-class amenities, accessibility through the world’s busiest passenger airport and much more.”
MAC officials report that companies they are seeing relocating or adding new facilities in the area include: bioscience, health IT, mobile technologies, supply chain and advanced manufacturing and technology — especially financial technology, digital media and film. The 2013 Metro Atlanta Higher Education Report reported that metro Atlanta is a digital media super-hub with nearly twice the number of digital media career opportunities per capita as other U.S. cities.
Companies moving here have no shortage of quality applicants to add to their team either. The Higher Education Report shows how the more than 275,000 students enrolled in the metro area’s higher education institutions are fueling business with fresh talent, innovation and discovery. “Based on the research that was conducted for this study in 2013, we have high concentration of students majoring in fields such as engineering, business, biological sciences, communications, computer science and physics, with companies right here that are hiring these students. Companies like Delta Air Lines, Siemens, Manhattan Associates, Turner Broadcasting, UPS and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, just to name a few,” says Ada Hatzios with MAC.
Show Me the Money
With regards to salaries, statistics published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015 show that the highest-paid professions in the Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Marietta areas are general dentists; general pediatrician; podiatrists; air traffic controllers; airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers; architectural and engineering managers; computer and information systems mangers; marketing managers; financial managers; and lawyers. General dentists have an average yearly salary of $186,310, and with Atlanta’s high quality of life, it’s easy to see how that money can go the distance.
In the past year, Inc. magazine ranked Atlanta third on its “Top 10 Cities for Fast-Growth Companies;” and physicians with the area’s top employer, WellStar Health System, take home an average base salary of $253,500, according to Fortune. Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work 2016” has the top employers based on what employees had to say in terms of environment, salary, benefits and more. A consultant at Bain & Company, a management consulting firm in Atlanta, earns an average salary of $138,697 Glassdoor reports, while a software engineer at Google will make $127,181, on average.
In a city where the entrepreneurial spirit is high, female CEOs and women-owned firms are celebrated, new businesses start and succeed, and major corporations flock to lay down roots and bring thousands of jobs, many professions live large and experience great business and financial success. Atlanta continues to make a name for itself as a major tech hub by cost of living adjusted salaries, and the benefits of the metro area continue to bring professionals young and old looking to make the most out of their incomes.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue