Hunted Worldwide: Austin, Texas

Welcome back to Hunted Worldwide. The first place for your relocation recruitment research. This time, we delve head first into Austin, Texas with the help of coincidentally named Austin Fraser, Tech specialists creating a name for themselves over the pond.  

Their US Business Manager James Lafferty gives us the low down on the City of the Violet Crown.

1 Market Overview

Austin, Texas is a growing hub for IT and Technical recruitment. Huge conglomerates such as Facebook, Google, Dell and Oracle already have offices there and many companies are moving in.  Whether that’s internal US relocation or from foreign shores.

Room for these companies is being created, through both property infrastructure and the creation of jobs which need staffing. Shared office spaces with businesses like Capital Factory and WeWork means the startup scene is catered for and smaller companies have the chance to capitalise on the growing local tech sector.

Every single day in Austin, there’s a business hiring staff.

The city itself has everything you need. Not an internet week goes by without seeing Austin on one of the top destinations to live in a list. In 2015, 147 companies closed on investment of $966m. Equally, Austin companies in 2015 saw $3.29m in exits meaning it’s incredibly competitive for tech staff in the city. The recruitment market is currently hotter than an Austin summer day.

2 Contract versus Perm

There’s quite a nice mixture of perm and contract within the city. The demand for tech talent is incredibly high. And because Developers and Engineers are so hard to find, people are open to both.

Austin Fraser will see 60% perm and 40% contract across the board. There’s also a lot of companies that will look at a temp to perm hire too. 

Recruitment is essentially a case of supply and demand, and in Austin, there’s a lack of supply and an abundance of demand. This means permanent candidates can get paid like rockstars. Rockstars with healthcare options. And that makes both perm and contract lucrative choices.

Austin Building

3 Professional Community

The professional community in Austin is centred around the candidate. It’s a talent driven market, and therefore looking after this talent is the key to commission.

There’s an unbelievable amount of meet ups in the city and something on everyday for the conversational Consultant. Making sure you have enough time to meet face to face will mean referrals come your way off the back a job well done.

People will be happy to pass your details on and recommend you to someone else, but being local is key to this.

4 Business Culture

Unfortunately for the UK Recruiter heading over to Austin, the British accent won’t be enough on its own. Business development is perhaps more aligned to the UK where the first introduction is hard given the level of competition.

Everyone you deal with in Austin expects the highest level of service, and you’ll need the best candidates to thrive. Luckily given the 360 model is rare here, the consultative approach will win you a lot of friends.

5 Business Development

When Austin Fraser moved into town, investment in the brand was paramount. Hitting the streets and getting your brand known (both personal and corporate) will mean candidates and clients know you’re there.

Pounding the phones is great but unless you meet people in Austin, it’s probably irrelevant. You’ll need to be able to explain the market to clients and show you’re the expert in recruitment.

Austin Post Card

6 The CBD

The startups and small to mid-sized companies are situated Downtown. Austin’s not a big city and office space is both pricey and limited in supply. This means larger companies place themselves in the north of the city.

Everyone’s pretty spread out. While Downtown is the heart of the tech scene the bigger you become, the higher the likelihood of being on the outskirts of town.

7 Dress

The dress code in Austin, almost universally is very casual but this is particularly true in tech. Your three piece suit will not be needed, your shorts will be however.

It’s also not a very ‘fashion conscious’ place and you’ll be unable to tell the CEO from someone on their day off. Outside of work, burnt orange is the colour of the city (or the colours of the college people went to).

Cowboy Railway

8 Travel

There’s next to no public transport in Austin. There’s one train line, with one route from north to south and a handful of buses. As 150 people move to Austin every single day, there’s a lack of transport infrastructure to move the city along.

This means that traffic can be a bit of a nightmare, as you’ll almost certainly be commuting in a car.

Life in the city:

1 Weather

Austin has 300 days of sunshine per year. For any Recruiters in the UK looking at a destination to relocate to, that’s almost unfathomable. You’ll need to find something else to talk about for a start.

The weather does change a lot however. There’s a saying locally: “If you don’t like the weather… just wait five minutes.”

It drops to freezing in winter and in the summer will reach up to 40 degrees. Luckily the river and lakes make the hotter days more than palatable.

2 Housing

Because of the amount of people moving into Austin, markets for rental and purchasing are both going crazy. A lot of properties are bought off plan before they reach one of the many Realtors in the city. Getting in the right school district and still being commutable distance is tough. Once you find a place that fits your criteria, you’ll need to move quickly.

Austin, Texas Downtown Skyline at Night

3 Food

The food is one of the best things about Austin. Barbecue cuisine is what Texas is world famous for. Finding somewhere that offers amazing food is easy and the standard is top notch too. This unfortunately means both the waistline and eating budget can be expanded quickly.

4 Outdoor Space

There’s a LOT of open space in the green belt nature reserve. And there’ll always be people playing all kinds of sport. Whether that’s football (soccer), ultimate frisbee, or the many water sports on offer. There are also plenty of party boats which is a great recruitment incentive in the sun.

On the whole, Austin is a very active city. The trail around Ladybird Lake (which is actually a river) is a highlight along with Lake Travis. You’ll find everything geared towards outdoor activities.

5 Social Scene

There are tons of bars and certain areas have different vibes. West, 6th street is the young professionals. East (Dirty), 6th… that’s the college kids where (in the words of David) “you know you’re gonna have a good time!” Rainey street is also a hotspot which has a lot of old houses that have been converted into bars.

There’s SXSW, which is split into the film festival, music and interactive, in March every year. During this month the city shuts down for three weeks.

ACL Festival keeps the social calendar full too, along with Formula One. They say Austin is the live music capital of the world and wherever you are in the city you’ll be able to find someone playing.

SXSW

6 Family

The outdoors lifestyle of Austin will mean activities for the family are well taken care of. One of the best websites to check out for local events is www.do512.com – 512 being the area code for Austin.

Check out the family tab on this site for appropriate listings for your younger recruits.

There are parades, events at local libraries, social gatherings etc etc. Within the city, 2% of your property value each year is taxed. Whilst that’s quite a hefty sum of money, all of it goes towards the schools. Which means, the more affluent areas of the city, have better schools.  

7 Cost of Living

The cost of living in Austin can be expensive in places, but it’s no California. Or London. Or New York. In fact as with everything, the deemed cost to living is relative.  

So, on relative terms, a pint of beer (note: probably cold lager) isn’t London prices. Your grocery shopping is likely to be more expensive – think Waitrose. ‘Gas’ (petrol) is no where near as expensive. It will generally even out. More here. 

8 Tax

Compared to the UK, the tax system for Austin is favourable. If you’re emigrating from Dubai, you’ll notice a difference. Then again it’s probably time you paid at least something!

For people who are earning a decent living though, Texas on the whole is the place to be. It’s very good financially for both individuals and businesses.

Austin Bars

9 Visas

It’s getting more difficult to get a visa to work in the US, but for experienced Recruiters with higher education it’s definitely possible. Austin Fraser specifically will assist with relocation and offer Recruiters a lot of assistance settling in. Wondering whether you’d be able to get there? Just ask. 

Here’s a useful website for more detail.

10 Travel

Flights internally from Austin are very easy to manage. You don’t even need a passport. You can take your driving licence and in most cases it’s incredibly cheap. You can move quickly from the heat of Texas to the mountains of Colorado. Mexico and the Caribbean are short distances and whatever ‘vacation’ you’re after, you can be there in four hours. Snow, sun, beach, city, mountain, it’s all close. Go explore!

Everyones talking about Austin right now and it’s for great reasons. To find out more about living and working in this beautiful, emerging centre of tech. Have a look right here.