Dallas has long been a popular destination for job seekers, but it is now being seen in a new light. Instead of talent following jobs, jobs are now following talent. In the Dallas-Plano-Irving area, more than 9 percent of employees are employed in financial activities, a category that includes finance, insurance and real estate. This concentration is higher than the national, state and even New York City's rate, which is recognized as the world's financial capital.
These jobs are usually not high-paying headquarters positions or commercial and investment banking roles. New York City still remains the leader in that regard. While Dallas often leads the nation in job creation, these two categories grew much faster than the overall labor market here. For example, Charles Schwab recently opened a campus in Westlake to expand operations and reduce costs.
They plan to hire customer service agents and support staff in banking and technology. North Texas has always had relatively low taxes and a low cost of living compared to other major metropolitan areas. When combined with the growing talent pool, this has created an “industrial cluster”: a high concentration of companies that generates strong employment growth, attracts suppliers and competitors, and supports restaurants and other services. New York City has struggled to maintain middle-income jobs in the financial sector due to its skyrocketing cost of living.
Banks must pay a premium of up to 30 percent and face higher regulatory costs, according to Kathryn Wylde, executive director of the Partnership for New York City. Dallas may be attractive to newcomers because average salaries are high enough to pay for housing and a middle-class lifestyle, which would be exaggerated in New York City. In the 1980s and 1990s, call centers often sprang up in sparsely populated, low-cost areas because employers could hire entry-level candidates, according to economist Ray Perryman of the Perryman Group. However, finance jobs require more experience, skills and education.
Wylde believes that Dallas has the perfect match for these support services jobs due to its workforce and cost of living. The Schwab site is located about 15 miles west of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and is counted as part of the Fort Worth metropolitan division by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Fort Worth has a lower proportion of financial workers than Dallas does, on par with the national rate. However, this part of Tarrant County also has a large campus for Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade has plans for a facility there as well. Schwab plans to recruit people from across North Texas which will intensify competition between employers in Plano, Dallas, Irving and Coppell. Dallas has always been a financial center for the region since it served the cotton industry, railroads and oil business first according to Perryman.
Before the bank bankruptcy of the late 1980s, Dallas was home to many of the state's largest banks. Now it offers extensive services through regional offices of national giants such as Bank of America and Chase. As banks and other financial firms decentralize and seek to reduce costs, Dallas is an obvious option. The talent pool will remain well-stocked due to local universities gaining ground which also attracts employers. College graduates are entering one of the best job markets in years with Dallas ranking number one in employment growth across the nation.
This growth is driven by a well-educated population, competitive cost structure and central location in the U. S.Employment growth in Dallas is likely to continue to outpace the state and nation over the medium term due to businesses and financial services companies reaching a critical mass that can rely on its network for necessary support services. One of the reasons to invest in real estate in Texas is that experts predict that its economy will continue to grow and attract more residents soon.