Houston may be best known for its oil and gas industry, but there’s a lot more to this cosmopolitan city than just refineries and petrochemical plants. Houston has a world-renowned medical center that employs nearly as many people as the oil and gas industry. The city earned its nickname, “Space City”, after it became home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and continues to be a hub for aerospace and technology. And as of 2010, Houston was named the “most diverse metropolitan area” in the nation, surpassing New York City in terms of racial and ethnic diversity.

I’m originally from the Northeast before making the move to Houston– and officially saying goodbye to cold winter weather! One thing about Houston that still surprises those who visit is just how big the city really is, both in terms of Houston’s population and its sheer vastness. Many of the relocating job candidates with whom I work make similar observations– they aren’t fully prepared for just how large the city is!

Are you considering relocating to Houston from outside of Texas? Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Healthcare and professional service positions are growing.
    The oil and gas sector has been in a downturn for the last few years, but the industry is starting to show signs of a recovery. Outside of oil and gas, growing and stable industries include healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, consumer goods and commercial real estate. Here at Lucas Group, I specialize in executive recruiting for finance and accounting professionals– and can attest that experienced CPA’s, accountants, auditors, financial and tax analysts are currently commanding competitive salaries and benefits packages.
  1. Expect strong salaries and a lower cost of living.
    Compared with major markets in New York, Chicago and California, Houston offers a lower cost of living and competitive salaries. This can also make leaving Houston much harder! I recently worked with a candidate who made $130K in Houston and would have needed to make at least $180K in California to maintain the same qualify of life. He ultimately decided that taking a major lifestyle cut simply wasn’t worth the relocation.
  2. Don’t overlook commuting distances.
    With a population of 6.6 million, Houston has long been one of the fastest growing cities in the US. It’s currently on pace to surpass Chicago as the third largest city by 2025 – and this rapid growth (with limited viable public transportation options) means that getting from one end to the other takes significant time. Commuting from The Woodlands to League City, for example, could easily take several hours during peak rush times. Just getting around the Galleria can be a serious undertaking!When working with candidates who are relocating to Houston, I routinely caution them to keep commuting times in mind when considering job options. If you’re committed to living in a specific neighborhood, consider where this neighborhood is located in relation to prospective jobs. Depending on commute length, flextime or telecommuting options may be a critical benefit when evaluating job offers. And thanks to a somewhat confusing road and tollway system, when interviewing for jobs you’ll want to leave plenty of time to make it there before your allotted appointment!


Have you recently moved to Houston from outside of Texas? I invite you to share what most surprised you about the city and any tips you have for making a smooth transition in the comments below.