In every recession, there is a bull market somewhere. In 2009, it’s for security-cleared professionals in the defense, aerospace and homeland security industries. Ongoing federal spending for these industries remains steady at approximately $450 billion, which allows companies to actively pursue new government contracts for products and services sparking the need for professionals with security-clearance.
While some defense strongholds like Washington D.C. are well known, other cities would be considered unexpected hotbeds. All of the locations have one thing in common — more open positions than available candidates.
“Basic supply and demand creates an atmosphere where security-cleared candidates can command higher salaries, move between employers with relative ease and maintain more stable job security than other industries,” noted Evan Lesser, founder and Director of ClearanceJobs.com. “This year our job postings have increased 70% compared to this time last year and employers are working hard to fill these open positions. The imbalance of open positions to candidates puts the value of a security clearance at a premium.”
- Washington D.C.: The sheer number of federal agencies in the district means a revolving door of vacancies requiring clearance. The Department of Labor estimates that 60 percent of the federal workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next ten years, leaving plenty of positions up for grabs.
- Orlando: Most major defense companies have a presence in this Florida city as it has become a hub for military modeling and simulation.
- Tampa/St. Petersburg: Ongoing needs for technical, computer and engineering skills, as well as those with backgrounds in international affairs, intelligence and languages are needed in the metropolitan area that serves the MacDill Air Force Base and the largest port in the state.
- Huntsville: With 50 percent more jobs posted on ClearanceJobs in the past year for Rocket City, there appears to be no limit for candidates in computer sciences and integration, communications services, biotechnology and engineering.
- Dallas/Ft. Worth: The Silicon Prairie city is brimming with opportunities for software and systems engineers, field service technicians and general IT positions for security-cleared professionals.
- Colorado Springs: With two Air Force Bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy, the aerospace industry is only second to tourism in Colorado Springs. The focus is on highly technical missions, chiefly systems engineering and space surveillance.
- Tucson: There are some 80 aerospace firms in this city alone, now considered a ‘cluster industry’ region where firms are networking together in areas that include optics, aerospace, bioindustry and technology.
- Phoenix: The desert offers lots of room for defense contractors to test new vehicles, radar and delivery systems. Jobs from engineering to program management to manufacturing are open in this city at any given time.
- San Diego: The military and defense sector remains one of this city’s most stable assets, a nearly $25 billion dollar industry. The wide array of security-cleared job opportunities from construction to communications and electronics make San Diego very attractive to candidates.
- Los Angeles: Network systems and data communications analysts are two of the fastest growing occupations in both Los Angeles and Orange County, both of which command six figure salaries.