Best Southwest Cities for Defense By Tranette Ledford and ClearanceJobs Average Security-Cleared Earnings Location Salary Phoenix/Tucson $74,668 Colorado Springs $85,395 Dallas/Fort Worth $77,317 Source: 2010 ClearanceJobs Compensation SurveyPhoenix, AZ While some bad unemployment news is coming out of the southwest region, there’s no need to jump to conclusions. Most of those ﬁgures are tied to the housing market and the building and construction industries. The job market for security-cleared professionals throughout the southwest is more than healthy. In fact, nearly 60 percent of security-cleared professionals received an increase in compensation in Key Opportunities in Phoenix/Tucson the past year, according to ClearanceJobs 2010 Compensation Survey. • Contracts Manager Arizona, with 361 days of sunshine per year, also offers a great job forecast. • Information Assurance Analyst The climate, open spaces and open skies are tailored well to the needs of the state’s two major military installations; Fort Huachuca, home to the U.S. Army • Program Manager Intelligence Center, and Davis Monthan Air Force Base, which serves primarily • Intelligence Analyst as an air combat command. The state’s defense activity continues to draw • Site Security Ofﬁcer new businesses and job opportunities for those with a clearance. This trend is equally matched by the high-tech industry which is also faring very well in the • Electronic Warfare Technician state. In fact, the American Electronics Association ranks Arizona fourth in the • Software Engineer nation for semiconductor employment. • Systems Administrator Phoenix New construction and new jobs abound. The city is putting in a state-of-the-art rail system at a cost of more than $1 billion, and Phoenix continues to be a hub for aerospace, bioscience and technology driven businesses. It is now one of the top 10 metro areas for aerospace and defense manufacturing. More than 300 aerospace-related companies are based in Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs. Honeywell, Orbital Science, General Dynamics and Boeing are big employers of security-cleared workers, as is Arizona State University, which collaborates closely with industry contractors and NASA. Other high-tech
businesses include Intel, Oracle, JDA Software and Suntron, all of which lookfor security-cleared job seekers, particularly those with skills and training inelectronics, nanotechnology and integrated software solutions. Another sectorthat keeps its eyes open for security-cleared professionals is the bioscienceindustry, which has grown more than 20 percent in less than a decade. “We regularly see employers“On ClearanceJobs.com, we see continual need for security-cleared willing to train someone with thecandidates in a very broad range of disciplines for the greater Phoenix area,including Tempe and Scottsdale. Everything from information technology and right clearance but an incompleteengineering, to ﬁnance and program management are typical open positions. skill set, rather than hire someoneThe fact that most of the open jobs only require a Secret clearance means with the level of skills desired butmore opportunity for a wider audience wanting to take advantage of theArizona defense boom.” no clearance.”Defense-related businesses continue to be lured to the Phoenix area, both for —Evan Lesser Founder and Director of ClearanceJobsthe jobs and the quality of life. It has a reasonable cost of living and a medianincome of more than $50,000. It’s also one of the youngest cities in America,with the average age being a ripe 33 years old.TucsonLike Phoenix, Tucson houses hundreds of aerospace and aviation-relatedcontractors; Bombardier Aerospace, Global Aircraft Solutions and UniversalAvionics Systems, to name a few. It’s also home to Paragon Space DevelopmentCorporation, one of the top engineering companies in the nation. In thissector, engineers and project managers are highest in demand. The city alsocounts around 1,200 high-tech companies employing some 50,000 people doingbusiness in the areas of computers, software, Internet services and systemsintegration.Tucson’s biggest employers include Raytheon, with more than 11,000employees, the University of Arizona with more than 10,000, and stateagencies, which employ more than 9,000. Security-cleared job seekers arein great demand in everything from administrative, logistics, operation andmanagement careers, to those trained in research and development andemerging technologies.Many of the area’s defense contractor giants are continuing an industry-wide trend of partnering with smaller, specialized contractors, a trend thatdirectly affects the area’s job market. For example, in June 2009, BAE Systemsacquired Tucson’s Advanced Ceramics Research. This partnership furthers newpossibilities in the production of unmanned aerial vehicles.Tucson still has a relatively small population. The city proper has just overhalf a million residents. Desert resorts dot the landscape, as do golf coursesand affordable houses, with the median home price in 2009 at $156,000. Theeconomy is strong and the salaries are good. For example, product managersand experienced software engineers can earn above $80,000. And six-ﬁgureincomes are common for security-cleared personnel in senior-level positions.Colorado SpringsCold, mountain air still draws winter sports enthusiasts, but it’s also been atarget region for the military and defense community. Along with the U.S. Air
Force Academy, the city hosts NORAD, Schriever Air Force Base and Peterson “Given our aerospace and defenseAir Force Base. Together, they account for about 20 percent of the area’sworkforce. Fort Carson, the Army’s third-largest military installation, is also industry, so many of the businessesjust south of Colorado Springs. Due to the nature of the military activity in the in the Colorado Springs/Pike’s Peakstate, defense contractors have relocated in droves. region are interested in retiredThe hottest ﬁelds for security-cleared personnel are currently in homeland members of the military, and thosesecurity and aerospace. Defense dollars have continued to ﬂow into the state, who are separating, because of theirincreasing the job market for cleared personnel more than twice the previousyear’s rate. skills and the fact they have some level of clearance.”“Given our aerospace and defense industry, so many of the businesses in theColorado Springs, Pike’s Peak region are interested in retired members of the —Brian Binnmilitary, and those who are separating, because of their skills and the fact President, Military Affairs Division, Greater Coloradothey have some level of clearance,” said Brian Binn, President, Military Affairs Springs Chamber of CommerceDivision, Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. “If these companiescan tap into that talent and also avoid the expense and the long wait to getsomeone cleared, it’s a win-win.”Recent partnerships between defense agencies and Colorado Springs businesses Key Opportunities in Colorado Springshave opened up new opportunities for engineers, researchers and developers,and project and program managers. For example, the Ofﬁce of Naval Research • Geospatial Intelligence Analystis working with Colorado Engineering, while the Defense Supply Center haspartnered with AMI Industries and Air Force Materiel Command is collaborating • Information Assurance Security Specialistwith Lockheed Martin. Smaller businesses are beneﬁtting as well, with the • Software Engineeropening of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which is dedicated tohelping small businesses make their way into new contract opportunities. • Mission Operations Analyst • Support TechThe Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation, which works todraw new business enterprises and job seekers to the region, reports that as of • Electrical Engineer2009, there are 27 Fortune 500 companies based in Colorado Springs. They put • Personnel Security Specialistthe labor force within an hour’s drive at 3.2 million workers, and tout the cityas a place where “the skies are blue, the mountains are green and the ﬁnancial • Systems Engineerstatements are always black.”Dallas/Fort WorthWhile Texas serves as home base for a number of major military installationsin all branches of the service, none are situated in the heart of North Texas.Still, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex holds good job prospects for security-cleared professionals throughout Garland, McKinney, Richardson and severaldozen other cities and towns. The draw for the region centers on the high-techindustry. In fact, the Metroplex has the largest cluster of high-tech workers inthe state – about 43 percent. This prompted Forbes to cite the area as one ofthe most productive regions in the country.As a technology and telecommunications hub, the Metroplex is home togiants like Southwestern Bell, Nortel and Ericsson. Other industries withopportunities include American Airlines, the area’s largest employer, withmore than 26,000 employees. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics follows, withmore than 15,000 employees. Also represented here – Verizon, Electronic DataSystems Corp., Raytheon, Bell Helicopter Textron, Northrop Grumman and L-3Communications.
The city of Dallas reports that jobs highest in demand in 2009 and expected Highest Cleared Earnings Byfor 2010 include enterprise architecture professionals, systems engineers,software engineers and information systems security administrators. Other Job Category Nationwidegood prospects are in program management, technical writing and contract ’10 Earningsnegotiation. Program, Project Manager – $125,784 Engineering IT Databases – Admin, Architect, $118,482 or Data IT Program/Project Management $111,642 IT Software Programming $106,766 Telecommunications Engineering $105,139 Electrical Engineering $104,982 Aerospace/Aviation Engineering $103,733 Program/Project Manager $103,444 IT Network/Systems Security $99,158 Intelligence Analyst, Linguist, or $90,222 Interrogator Human Resources Generalist/ $87,311 Recruiter IT Hardware – Admin, Architect, $85,994 or SupportDallas, TX IT – Testing/QA $85,733 IT – Telecommunications $85,661 Logistics – Supply, Procurement, $85,545Cleared job seekers at all levels can expect the job market easy to maneuver, Acquisitionas employers often value the clearance more than the skills. Law Enforcement $76,626 Facility/Personnel Security $68,289“We regularly see employers willing to train someone with the right clearance Administrative – Clerical or $65,612but an incomplete skillset, rather than hire someone with the level of skills Secretarialdesired, but no clearance,” states Evan Lesser, founder and director of Source: 2010 ClearanceJobs Compensation SurveyClearanceJobs.com. “From a timing perspective, an active clearance can bemore valuable to an employer with existing government contracts that need tobe fulﬁlled.” Along with the healthy job market, another lure for prospective employeesremains the quality of life in and around Dallas. The cost of living is muchlower than the national average, and housing slumps didn’t affect the regionto the extent they affected much of the country. Thus, it has one of the leastexpensive housing markets in the nation. A 2,000 square foot home in McKinneycan be purchased for about $160,000, and in north Dallas for about $250,000.As for salaries, IT project managers can command between $70,000 and$95,000 depending on skill level, salaries about equal to those of aerospaceengineers. Software engineers earn between $80,000 and $90,000 on average,while engineer managers command six-ﬁgure incomes.It’s the numbers that put the southwest region in the lead, when it comes tothe best of the ups and downs – a low cost of living, lower than average housingprices and high salaries. ★ ★ ★4101 NW Urbandale Drive • Urbandale, Iowa 50322 • 1.877.386.3323 • www.clearancejobs.com