Without letting your eyes wander down the lines below, can you guess what is the highest paid occupation in northwest Harris County? If you guessed chief executive officer (CEO), you are wrong. CEOs are second. The number one highest paying occupation in northwest Harris County is anesthesiologist at a median hourly earning of $118.90. Recent data received from Texas Workforce Commission via Workforce Solutions, provided us with a number of employment trends in our 15-zip code service area of northwest Harris County. The rankings for highest paid occupation are as follows:

1. Anesthesiologists                            $118.90

2. Chief Executives                              $118.12

3. Family & General Practitioners      $109.67

4. Surgeons                                          $104.97

5. Dentists                                            $93.65

6. Architects & Engineers                   $83.56

7. Oral Surgeons                                 $81.79

8. Physicians & Surgeons                   $81.61

9. Lawyers                                            $81.06

There are two very glaring observations that come out of this data. The first being 6 of the 9 occupations are all in the medical field. Two, every one of those occupations, with the exception of CEO, are in the professional fields, all requiring a rigorous and extended amount of education. Positively, each occupation, dentists and engineers excluded, experienced between 10% and 20% job growth over the last 5 years.  Conversely, the largest and fastest growing occupations in our area continue to be our lower wage, service related jobs, including all areas of food service, clerks, cashiers, etc., and certainly to some your surprise, retail is on this list, adding the second most amount of jobs in the last 5 years.

The fastest growing occupation is Home Health Aides at 27%, but it also pays the lowest median hourly wage at $8.76.  Most of this job growth can be attributed to the robust population growth. We are experiencing healthy job growth throughout the entire spectrum of the wages indicating there is job availability for all ranges of skill sets. However, the energy downturn has continued to leave a void in white collar positions, despite the recent uptick in energy industry related jobs. Industry cycles aside, if there is one adage that is tried and true when you look at the list above, it is…stay in school kid.