Job opening in Washington: No, not the Presidency
Not every job opportunity in our nation's capital has to do with the White House, the Congress or any other aspect of the federal government. Washington, D.C. is a city like many others, and one that happens to be back on even footing in terms of its jobs market. The city added 65,600 jobs in the year ending in April 2015, according to the Labor Department, for the strongest year-over-year growth since the government budget cuts began in March 2013. As expected, many of those jobs have to do with federal contracting, but not all of them.
DC employers look to hire in the near future
The Labor Department figures identified retail and hospitality as two sectors that both added jobs in that April 2014-2015 period, at 9,200 and 7,900 positions, respectively. Those aren't eye-popping numbers, nor are they in high-paying fields, but they collectively represent over a quarter of the total jobs growth and characterize the slow, steady growth the region has experienced since the Recession.
"The average value [to the economy] of the jobs we lost during the recession was $156,000," Stephen Fuller, an economist who directs the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, told The Washington Post. "The average value of the jobs we've added since the recovery is just flirting with $100,000."
City would benefit from more tech hiring
While there are certainly opportunities in federal government and contracting jobs in the nation's capital, the city would also benefit from a focus on tech talent, according to Harvard Business Review.
"The job market in the D.C. area for IT jobs serving our Federal Government clients has been very robust," says Steve Broadman, Division Director of Beacon Hill Government Services. "We are seeing a nearly net negative unemployment rate for skilled workers, especially in the areas of cyber security for our clients that require security clearances. The D.C. market is one of the hottest IT markets in the country."
In fact, a great example of the burgeoning D.C. tech market lies within Capitol Hill itself. The Presidential Innovation Fellows program was initiated three years ago as a way of injecting a dose of agile thinking into the federal government. In the three years hence, the 18 original Fellows have made significant progress. Their model? Silicon Valley, where lean startup and design-based thinking are a way of life. Given the resources and needs in D.C., there is no reason that same system can't work in city-wide employment.
The city already has a high percentage of higher-wage jobs that require college degrees, according to The Washington Post, so the precedent is there. Employers will pay competitive salaries and offer flexible benefits to the right hire in the right position. Those conditions bode well for not only tech talent but any individual with ample experience in a given field.
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