Job growth in high-tech, private sectors may open doors for Longhorns

Sarah White

The Austin economy will add 45,000 jobs over the next two years, making UT students more likely to receive jobs in the city after graduation, according to the CEO of Angelou Economics.

Recovery from the recent economic downturn has been slow in Austin and in the United States as a whole until the last economic quarter, said Angelos Angelou, who has monitored the Austin economy for the past 26 years. Recently, the private sector has begun to hire more widely, the retail industry has grown and the housing market has begun to stabilize, said Angelou.

“The Austin high-tech industry experienced a rebound last year with a 6 percent increase in high-tech jobs,” Angelou said.

Angelou said this development in the Austin economy could yield big dividends in the future because employees in the tech industry make up about 20 percent of the Austin workforce and bring in about 35 percent of the city’s income.

“The high-tech sector in Austin is a unique and distinguishing factor of the Austin economy,” Angelou said.

Angelou said although the economy looks to be recovering, it is still a long way from operating at its full potential.

“The past few years have not been the best for college graduates in the job market,” he said. “Over the next two years though, college graduates might have a better chance. This is especially true with students who have majors in the tech industry, such as engineering or computer science students.

Amanda Highfill, co-director of the Texas Exes Student Chapter and applied learning sophomore, said she knows students who have changed their majors because they believe certain degrees will get them better jobs.

“Some of my friends have changed majors in fear that they would not get a job teaching,” Highfill said. “But all in all I believe that the majority of people at UT major in something that they are passionate about, and if they do not it hurts them in the end.”

Lynne Levinson, assistant director of the Sanger Learning and Career Center, said that concern over getting a good job in a difficult economy has led students to invest more in their education.

“Students do increasingly talk about their concerns about the economy when faced with looking for a job or internship,” Levinson said. “And while exploring career options, students seem to be more aware of the importance of internships and other experiences to make themselves marketable.”

She said one mistake students often make is failing to carefully consider prospective careers before pursuing them.

“Talking to several people in the field is so important to making an informed career choice,” Levinson said. “The networking that results from these informational interviews is an added bonus that may even open doors to future networking and increased opportunities.”

Printed on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 as: Austin's emerging job growth benefits graduating students