Houston Community News >> Houston Hot Job Market

10/12/2006 Houston-- If you’re looking for work, you may have picked the right city to live in. Houston is hiring, and you can thank the high price of oil.

(Visit our Houston Jobs page to start your job search)

But at Houston’s hottest companies, while hiring is up, wages may not be. If you want to see what higher oil prices mean to Houston, take a look at Varel International near Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“These guys are true artists,” said Mike Reese, Varel VP. “We make the drill bit that drills a hole in the ground,” Reese said. They’ve doubled their work force since last year and just added a third shift, running 24 hours a day.

Still, “We have several openings,” said Reese. The more drilling rigs in action, the more demand for the bits. And talk about demand, in an office building near the Galleria, we talked to Russell Scheirman of Vaalco Energy,  an oil and gas exploration company.

“Well, this is the new offices were adding,” said Russell Scheirman, Vaalco CFO. It’s the fastest growing company in America, according to Fortune Magazine, and it’s hiring. “Its hard to find people who have experience which is what you want when you’re a small company like us,” he said.

“The higher prices you’ve been paying at the pump is what’s fueling all this growth in Houston’s oil industry. And overall, Houston is doing better than Texas, better than the nation, creating thousands more jobs than forecasters first predicted.”  “Well, in Houston, the job markets great,” said Joel Wagher.

“The nation’s growing around 1.2-1.4 percent. And we’re at 2.8 percent. We’re doing twice as well,” said Wagher. Job growth led by the energy industry, but health services and construction are also hiring.

How tough? “It’s pretty tough,” said James Koch, of TxDOT. TxDOT resorted to using its traffic warning signs to direct job-hunters to a hotel ballroom. “We’re trying to fill about 40 positions,” said Koch. For five hours recruiters did the interview dance with job hunters like Hilda Scott. “As an engineer, I think the job market is good out there,” said Hilda Scott.

But here’s the thing, while workers are in big demand, wages overall aren’t going up. “We haven’t seen a lot of wages going up, we’re hearing that there’s a supply shortage, you now that they can’t find the skilled workers, but we really haven’t seen a lot of pressure on the wages,” said Wagher.

(Contributed by Texas Cable News)