Working and Living in Houston: Best Companies to Work For
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Houston is a great city for work, whether you have an entrepreneurial spirit or looking for work at America’s largest corporations, including Fortune 500 companies. Houston is the nation’s hub for its oil and gas, healthcare, manufacturing, and more industries. Read on for what it’s like to live in this prime city plus the best companies to work for in Houston.
Along with its booming job market, Houston is known for its sunny weather and a relatively low cost of living. It’s an excellent choice to earn a living and raise a family. In addition, Houston’s workforce regained most of its lost jobs from the pandemic. The area has managed to weather the storm of the COVID-19 downturn much better than other metro areas, allowing thousands of people to bounce back from struggling businesses as well as lost jobs.
Life in Houston at a Glance
If you’re considering relocating to Houston, you’re in luck: the city boasts an array of perks that make it an enticing option, particularly for young professionals. Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, with an incredibly young and diverse population. And while city living is never cheap, your money will go further here. For several years in a row, Forbes listed Houston as one of the top cities where your paycheck stretches the furthest.
Houston is relatively young compared to other large cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Boston. It ranks among the nation’s fastest-growing large cities. A key reason for this explosive growth is how affordable life is in H-Town. With its unique global appeal, Houston is among the country’s most linguistically and ethnically diverse places.
What Is It Like to Live in Houston?
If you’re thinking about making a major move, you’ll want to know more than basic facts and figures. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of life in Houston.
Houston is a place for people who love warm weather. Its southern location means that this city’s temperatures rarely dip below 40° F, even in the coldest months. Summer temperatures can spike into the 90s, but will rarely exceed 100° F.
Although it can get pretty humid, this climate is excellent for folks who love to spend time outdoors. People living in Houston have plenty of opportunities to head into nature, and will rarely be stuck inside due to inclement weather.
Houston’s Best Restaurants
Dining out is a favorite pastime of many Houstonians. The city has thousands of restaurants to satisfy every palate, from fine dining to barbecue joints as well as fast-food franchises. You can also find a range of international cuisine within the metro area, from Indian to Ethiopian.
Food & Wine magazine named Houston “the newest capital of great food,” and it’s easy to see why. The city has around 10,000 restaurants, with choices from upwards of 70 different countries and regions. Essentially, no matter what type of cuisine you like, you’ll probably be able to find it here.
For a taste of what you can expect, here are just three of the top restaurants in Houston.
- Squable: Black truffle pasta, marinated mussels, and a unique French cheeseburger are just a few delicious options from this eatery.
- The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation: One of Houston’s most iconic tex-mex spots, Ninfa’s is the place to go for everything from fajitas to mango-habanera margaritas.
- Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana: New York isn’t the only place with great pizza. In recognition of its authenticity, Pizaro’s earned a certification from the Vera Pizza Napoletana organization.
What Are Some Things to Do in Houston?
Perhaps one of the best things about living in Houston is the fact that you’ll have access to an immense range of things to do. On any given day you might catch an Astros game, see an outdoor movie, or go for a bike ride in one of the city’s many parks. If you’re looking for specific ideas, here are some of the best things to do in Houston.
Miller Outdoor Theatre
If you’re looking for a great way to get fresh air and culture without spending a dime, head to the Miller Outdoor Theatre. This venue hosts performances such as Shakespeare and ballet, as well as the occasional film. It is open from March to November and allows you to BYOB.
The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center
Remember when we said Houston is a great place for lovers of the outdoors? Case in point: the 155-acre arboretum offers five miles of gorgeous nature trails, in addition to fun interactive exhibits.
The Houston Museum District is a highly-walkable neighborhood that contains 19 museums and cultural centers. This is where you’ll find the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses one of the largest collections of artwork in the country.
Johnson Space Center
We can’t talk about Houston without mentioning NASA. Visitors to the Johnson Space Center can explore exhibits of over 400 space artifacts, including the largest collection of moon rocks in the world.
Is Houston a Good Place to Live in?
There are plenty of great reasons to relocate to Houston. From its diversity to its beautiful nature areas and thriving culinary scene, this city offers residents an immense range of benefits. Some of the biggest pros include:
- No state income tax
- Low cost of living compared to similar metropolitan areas
- Wide range of museums and theaters
- Mild winters
- Plenty of parks
Is Houston a Bad Place to Live in?
While Houston does offer an array of benefits, no city is perfect. Before deciding whether to move, it’s important to understand both the positives and negatives of an area. Here are a few of the biggest downsides of living in Houston:
- Low walkability
- Risk of flooding
- High traffic
- High property tax
What Salary Do You Need to Live in Houston?
What Are the Benefits of Living in Houston?
Life in Houston has plenty of advantages. Here are a few of its biggest draws.
Strong Job Market
Houston has long had a thriving job market, and the job forecast for 2021 is no exception. Estimates currently indicate that there are somewhere between 35,000 and 52,000 new jobs available in this area. The industries experiencing the most significant growth are:
Houston continually ranks as one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the country. In 2019, Houston was listed as the #1 most diverse city. Several studies have also shown that Houston is a great place for minority entrepreneurs. Expert Market ranked Houston the top U.S. city for minority entrepreneurs in 2017, and LendingTree ranked the city as #11 in a comparison of minority entrepreneur success across 50 major metro areas.
Thriving Culinary Scene
Whether you’re a total foodie or appreciate some decent takeout every once in a while, Houston’s incredible food is a major perk. Restaurants in Houston have earned a great deal of praise throughout the years. In 2014, Resonance named Houston one of the “Top Destinations for Foodies.” It also ranked #1 in Travel and Leisure’s 2015 list of “America’s Best Cities for Food Snobs.”
An Abundance of Greenery
With over 66,600 acres of parks in Houston, the city is one of the greenest. This gives you plenty of places to escape city life for a while, whether you want to go hiking, enjoy an outdoor fitness class, or just relax with a picnic.
All this greenery isn’t just aesthetic, either: it plays a vital role in resident health. Studies show that urban green spaces offer a vast range of benefits, including:
- Mental and physical wellbeing
- Better air quality
- Reduction of morbidity and mortality
- Prevention of excessive heat
Can You Live in Houston Without a Car?
Although Houston has many benefits, its walkability is unfortunately not one of them. While public transport makes it fairly easy to get around if you’re living in the downtown area, you may struggle if you seek accommodations in neighborhoods further out and you might want to consider getting a car to decrease your commute time.
Houston’s walkability scores are below the national average. However, the closer you get to the downtown area, the more Houston’s walkability improves. Some of the most walkable neighborhoods in Houston include:
- Houston Heights
- The Museum District
- East Downtown
Houston’s main mode of public transport is the METRORail system, a collection of three lines that will carry passengers throughout the city. The area with the easiest access to public transport is Harris County, with 38% of households living within a quarter-mile of a public transit stop.
Cost of Living in Houston
Compared to many similar metropolitan areas, the cost of living in Houston is relatively low. This is due to a combination of factors, including a strong job market, lack of income taxes, and fairly affordable housing options. Even so, there are some factors to be aware of regarding Houston’s cost of living.
Houston Healthcare Costs
Healthcare costs in Texas exceed the national average. Costs have spiked 14% over the past five years, with employer plans paying $6,110 per person in 2018. By comparison, national healthcare costs in 2018 averaged $5,900. This spike in cost is largely caused by higher prices for both prescription drugs and medical services.
There may not be an income tax, but Texas has the highest property taxes in the country. While the average U.S. household spends approximately $2,375 annually on property taxes, folks in Texas pay almost $900 more. This is important to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing a home in the Houston area.
What Are Good Neighborhoods to Live in Houston?
If you’ve done your research and decided that Houston sounds like a great fit for you, here are the neighborhoods to know.
Houston Housing Market
The Houston housing market is booming, according to data from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR). Luxury housing is in the highest demand, although mid-range homes are also selling quickly. The largest share of recent sales was for homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000.
HAR does note that this rise in sales cannot last forever. Experts are hoping that more people will begin putting their houses on the market this summer, which will provide more availability for folks hoping to purchase property in the Houston area.
Best Places to Live in
Ultimately, the neighborhood you choose will come down to factors such as budget and job location. If you have some flexibility, however, there are phenomenal areas in Houston that are definitely worth your consideration.
- Houston Heights: An incredibly walkable neighborhood that boasts beautiful Victorian architecture and easy access to local nature trails.
- The Museum District: Ideally located near the METRORail, with a vast array of local arts and culture centers.
- Montrose: Another hip and highly walkable neighborhood, Montrose provides easy access to fun local music bars, wine lounges, and boutiques, as well as plenty of cafes.
- University Place: Popular among young professionals, University Place combines urban and suburban vibes. Most people here own their homes and enjoy access to local cafes, restaurants, and parks.
From its gorgeous urban greenery to its delicious restaurants and low cost of living, Houston is a city with a lot of charm. If you’re considering relocating — and you don’t mind the summer humidity — this is an excellent area to call home.
Working in Houston
Job opportunities in Houston vary widely in their pay. In fact, the relatively low cost of living as well as affordable housing means that you can live and work comfortably in the city.
Data from the ADP Research Institute provides insights into how much Houston jobs pay:
What’s a good salary when working in Houston?
According to the ADP, in February 2021, the average annual salary for a well-paid employee in Houston is $102,692. Or approximately $49.37 per hour.
What is the average salary in Houston?
The average salary in Houston, according to the report, is $50,935. This figure works out to $24.49 per hour or $980 per week.
What is the most common job in Houston?
According to Usawage.com, Houston’s most common job was the counter and fast food worker occupation. Employing 3.09 percent of all employees in the metro area. Followed closely by a retail salesperson with 2.88 percent.
Highest Paying Jobs in Houston
According to a list compiled by Moster.com in association with PayScale, engineering professionals and project management staff appear to feature most in the list of highest-paid employees in Houston.
Below is a list of the top 10 highest-paying jobs in the city as well as the respective mid-career median pay:
1. Reservoir engineer ($204,900)
2. Chief information officer ($197,300)
3. Petroleum engineer ($189,100)
4. President ($188,500)
5. Chief financial officer ($176,500)
6. Vice president of business development ($176,000)
7. Vice president of sales & marketing ($174,800)
8. Project control manager ($166,700)
9. Sales director ($162,400)
10. Business development director ($161,800)
Best Companies to Work for in Houston
In the past, Houston was predominantly a gas and oil-focused town. The oil industry still plays a large part in the city's economy. It's a vibrant and diverse metro full of talented people as well as various industries ranging from trade and manufacturing to digital technology and healthcare. As a result, many of the country's biggest and best employers set up shop in Houston. Here are the most desirable companies to work for in Houston:
Unum Group is an insurance service provider operating in the U.S. as well as the U.K. The company offers a range of financial protection products. Including life, accident, disability, vision, critical illness, dental cover, and related solutions. Additionally, Unum offers excellent pay as well as perks and is one of the first major firms to allow staff to work from home.
2. General Mills
General Mills is a global food firm that offers its employees a small-company feel. Besides offering great pay, growth, advancement opportunities, as well as benefits, the company also provides ways for its staff to contribute to their communities' welfare.
Unilever is one of the largest consumer goods manufacturing companies worldwide. Producing a range of products from food and pharmaceuticals to beauty products as well as owning some of the world's most recognizable brands. Furthermore, it is a company renowned for its workers' ethical treatment, generous pay, and community service projects' involvement despite its massive size.
4. Liberty Mutual Insurance
Liberty Mutual is a global insurer offering comprehensive solutions that include homeowner's, commercial multiple-peril cover, personal automobile cover, fire, surety, and disability, among others. What's more, the company offers competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, as well as the options of part-time or flexible working.
5. American Express
American Express Company (Amex) is a major multinational financial services company. Best known for its traveler's check and credit card businesses. In fact, Amex is a place to work if you are not scared of facing challenges or setting big goals. It commonly advertises executive and management-level positions. And is one of the best places to advance your career if you are a professional in the financial sector.
Comerica Inc. is a financial services firm headquartered in Texas and operates retail banking in several U.S. states, Mexico, as well as Canada. The company provides good pay and outstanding career advancement opportunities. In addition, Comerica is an equal opportunity employer, well known for its gender diversity, with almost 50% of its staff being women.
7. CMA CGM
CMA CGM is a container transportation and shipping firm. The company is the fourth largest shipping group globally. Operating more than 200 shipping routes linking 420 ports in over 150 countries. For individuals interested in a career in logistics, the company offers excellent advancement opportunities as well as a diverse hiring policy.
8. The Hartford
For more than 200 years, The Hartford is a leading provider of industry-leading casualty and property insurance products, mutual funds, as well as group benefits. Furthermore, the company offers high pay and attractive benefits, the option to work from home, as well as an accessible application process for applicants with disabilities.
9. Cardinal Health
Cardinal Health offers healthcare products and services to hospitals, clinical laboratories, physician's offices, pharmacies, and ambulatory surgery centers worldwide. In addition, the company provides a diverse work environment, professional and personal growth opportunities, as well as a benefits package that includes medical, dental, and 401(k) savings plans.
The Altria Group is one of the world's largest manufacturers of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages. In addition, Altria offers employees a fun and inclusive work environment, great perks, and excellent career and personal advancement opportunities.
Top Jobs in Houston
Houston’s diverse and expansive job market is a huge selling point for the area. With booming aerospace, oil and gas, tech, and medical industries, the city is an excellent option for all kinds of professionals and skilled workers.
Some of the most popular job opportunities in Houston are:
If you are looking for a manufacturing sector position, a warehouse job could be the perfect fit. Although warehouse jobs involve many tasks, you will take responsibility for duties like receiving incoming stock, processing received materials, filling orders from available stock, taking inventory of items within warehouses, filling orders, packaging, as well as shipping orders.
As the first point of contact with a company's customers, receptionists play a crucial role in boosting customer satisfaction, improving a business' reputation, as well as ensuring brand loyalty. In fact, receptionists have a broad range of duties. But should you take up this position, you should expect to take responsibility for the front office's cleanliness, answer customer queries, and offer first-line customer support.
Customer Service Representative is another essential customer-facing role popular with people looking for jobs in Houston companies. Its jobs involve providing customers with product or service information or resolving problems with a company's products or services. What's more, as a customer service rep, you serve a vital marketing role by answering potential customers' questions as well as offering suggestions about products or services that they could find useful.
As a project manager, you are responsible for planning, supervising, and directing projects through every stage from ideation to completion. Project management is a senior organizational role and requires close and frequent interaction with different stakeholders as well as keeping track of several project parts' progress.
Houston's data entry jobs require administrative professionals who handle routine clerical tasks related to the entry and updating of data into a computer system. Moreover, a data entry clerk's key responsibility is to ensure that a company's database has up-to-date information on its customers, suppliers, inventory, sales, invoices, and more. Data entry may also involve transferring records from paper formats to computer databases.
Texas is known worldwide for its oil and gas industries. And the petroleum engineer role is one of the best paying jobs you will find in Houston. Petroleum engineers help Texas companies find oil and gas to fulfill the nation's massive energy requirements. These highly sought-after professionals develop as well as design the different methods used to extract gas and oil deposits from the ground.
There is an incredibly high demand for stockers. As a stocker, your key responsibilities are to unload, unpack, and distribute merchandise that arrives at a store. Duties also include the regular taking of inventory as well as some customer care work.
Suppose you have a history of safe driving, an aptitude for multitasking, time management, attention to detail, excellent communication ability, as well as customer service skills. In that case, you could consider a delivery driver job in Houston. As a delivery driver, you take on multiple tasks as well as responsibilities that ensure the safe and timely delivery of goods to your employer's customers or partners.COVID increased the amount of online shopping and the use of apps like Uber Eats, raising the need for courier services, so becoming a delivery driver has many opportunities.
With the city boasting many retail chain outlets and thousands of smaller stores, a popular job is a cashier. Whose primary responsibility is to help customers complete the checkout process. As a cashier, your primary duties will include bagging items, ringing up sales, answering customer questions, collecting payments, requesting price checks, accepting customer returns, as well as honoring coupons.
Job Hunting in Houston Made Easier
Are you looking for a job? Do you want to switch careers? Do you think that there are companies that offer better opportunities than you currently get? Or, do you need a change of scenery?
At some of the best companies to work for in Houston, you can find a rewarding career waiting for you. So, upload your upload your resume at Lensa today, and let us help you find the job of your dreams!
Most Sought-After Jobs in Houston
Explore the number of job postings and type of roles per industry in demand in Houston. This chart shows invaluable insights into the job market’s dynamism and demand for your profession.
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Updated until April 2023