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Old 05-20-2013, 06:55 PM
Location: Sick of MI.
160 posts, read 413,181 times
Reputation: 193


What is the job market like in Iowa City and metro area?

I understand unemployment is very low there.

I will have an associates degree in accounting and will be working toward a bachelor's online. Are there jobs for me?

Obviously something can't be too good to be true. I'm in MI, employed but not getting enough hours. I'm thinking of relocating. I'm looking at Iowa and Nebraska.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:17 AM
Location: Plumas
15 posts, read 32,485 times
Reputation: 17
Before you relocate, you should check what the quality of those jobs. What are the wages and working conditions. Sometimes, jobs are available in some particular area but with very low wages and poor working conditions.

You should go there only if you are 100% sure that you will get a job according to your standards.
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Old 05-21-2013, 08:30 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,150,666 times
Reputation: 5386
You should not move until after you are hired. The unemployment rate is a lie.

Students who are unemployed are not considered part of the work force because they are students, therefore they do not count. The city has a very large student population.

The jobs are often given to people who know people, so when you apply for a job there is a large chance someone else will have a huge leg up on you. If you can get the job before you move there, you'll be fine. I had my Bachelor's with a double major and graduated at the top of my class. I could not find meaningful work until the census started up and the Feds came in and did hiring correctly. No nepotism in standardized tests. I was immediately put in charge of a staff of 18 employees and given a pay package respective of my abilities. My crew came in as one of the top ranked crews in the nation completing our area under budget and ahead of schedule. Then we were assigned to help the other groups that were struggling. Outside of that job, I built my own business from the ground up. I sold it and moved out of state to attend a respectable MBA program, on a merit scholarship no less.

Consider carefully before assuming that posted jobs or listed low unemployment means that you would be able to be hired or receive a pay that is in accordance with your ability. The unemployment rate is a lie when it comes to analyzing the area. Honestly, I lived in areas with higher unemployment rates (10 to 12%) and had an easier time getting interviews. There are a few fields where you can still get an interview in Iowa City (without mommy and daddy calling their friends), but accounting is not one of them.

Some people will tell you differently, but usually it is because their mommy and daddy lived in the area. They will deny til their dying breath that they got their job that way, but their opinion will not change fact. The funniest thing I ever heard from someone working one of those positions with solid pay and great benefits was: "I was really surprised. I applied for the job and it turned out I was the most qualified person so I got it". I nearly laughed myself into tears that this man believed the most qualified person was hired. The fact that he actually thought the most qualified person would regularly be the person that was hired proved he was incompetent for the position.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:40 PM
Location: Sick of MI.
160 posts, read 413,181 times
Reputation: 193
So there is a lot of nepotism there? Is Cedar Rapids any better? Or would you suggest I press onward toward Omaha or a bigger city? (Also low unemployment, but further from home).

Finally, don't you think nepotism is everywhere or is it worse in IA? Is it because most people are "from" Iowa?

Nepotism is very bad in MI I'll admit, probably because most people are from here.

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball » You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?

76.6%, the second highest in the US after Louisiana. Iowa is 7th at 71.7%. Would you think it would be less bad in another state with low unemployment but fewer native born (and thus less of a Good Old boy network) like NH?

One reason I admit to hating West MI is not only the unemployment but the G.O.B. network. Here it is so true if you don't have the right last name you will be out of the running for a lot of jobs. Even though I am from here I'm not part of the G.O.B. inner circle nor is anyone in my family.

Last edited by ARPARP; 06-14-2013 at 07:59 PM..
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:30 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,150,666 times
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You nailed it on the head. As a rule of thumb there is a correlation that states with low unemployment and low numbers of native born residents have less nepotism. There are less decades for the networks to form, and that encourages hiring managers to do real searchers.

IS CR any better? Yes. Not what I would consider "low" nepotism, but significantly better than IC. I would rate IC as "very high" and CR as "high to moderately high" in my unscientific process

I want to point out a contradiction, so you can consider how to handle it. You've openly stated "I admit to hating West MI", but also implied a desire to be in places that were closer to "home". Think carefully about what you want. As you move farther from the Midwest, you'll move farther from nepotism.

Des Moines has a low unemployment rate and I would only consider nepotism there to be "average to slightly above average". It is easily the best city in the state of Iowa for avoiding Nepotism. However, if your goal is just to find meaningful work, some of the best options that are not very far from Western Michigan are:
Chicago (one of the largest cities in the country, I would rate nepotism as low to very low), Minneapolis (low) Cleveland and Pittsburgh - I don't know enough about these two, but the size of the city gives them a decent shot at hitting "low". The same could be said for Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and St. Lious, I don't know unemployment rates there. Detroit is obviously out for ultra high unemployment. I just don't know enough about them to really know. I would suggest doing wikipedia searches if you think you might enjoy one. I'm a bit of a geographic buff, so I tend to browse the wikipedia pages for many cities.

If you would move as far away as Omaha, then it would be more economical to fly back when visiting family. (This what I decided to do in my own life) Once you are planning to fly, it really opens up the country. If that were the case, I'd say to look at San Diego (great weather and outdoors activities, low nepotism), Houston (very hot, but low unemployment, low cost of living, and low nepotism), and Denver (great outdoors activities, moderate cost of living, moderate to high unemployment, low nepotism).

I grew up in Portland, OR. I moved to Iowa so my wife could get an incredible education--and the education was truly top notch. However, we didn't like the state and relocated to Colorado Springs (500k to 600k people) - which is an hour south of Denver (3.5million). The unemployment rate here is high (around 10%, last I checked), but the nepotism is low and the cost of living is low (significantly lower than Iowa City). You can also find low rates of nepotism in Florida, another state where many people are not native born. However, cost of living in Florida is high and the states reputation attracts people and can drive down wages. Generally speaking, big cities, low native rates, and low unemployment would create a scenario where nepotism is less likely to grow.

Feel free to drop me a PM if I don't respond quickly to a question. I've lost track of how many people I've helped find the cities that reflect their priorities. Remember that the unemployment rate is important, but it is also not the only thing to consider. Once you get used to getting out tons of high quality applications, the good offer might come anywhere. So I'd suggest putting together a list of 3 to 5 things you'd really like out of a city and ranking them, then concentrating a job search on cities that score high.

My list put weather at the top, taxes second, beautiful scenery third, other cost of living factors fourth, and traffic fifth. Having access to a CITY was a requirement, so a place with 30,000 people would not be considered. What does your list look like?

Last edited by lurtsman; 06-15-2013 at 09:37 AM.. Reason: Clarifying city descriptions
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:46 PM
Location: Sick of MI.
160 posts, read 413,181 times
Reputation: 193
Nepotism is definitely a problem in the Midwest. Admittedly I have both benefited from it and been shafted by it. I lost out on a job once because the owner hired a less qualified friend of the family, only for me to get a phone call later that the guy just quit abruptly and they wanted me to reconsider. I told them to take a hike. On the other hand I got a job because my family are regular customers where I applied at. I went in for an "interview" where they told me I was already hired because my family was so loyal to the company but I just needed to do it as a formality. I know of at least one place where a friend works where they don't post jobs and you have to know somebody to work there. He offered me a job there but I turned it down. There are plenty of other people I know who got jobs because their uncle or some family friend owns the company over more qualified candidates.

It is a Midwestern trait. And it is the same across the Midwest. If somebody asks you your name the first thing out of their mouth is, "Are you related to so and so?" I imagine it is the same in IA as in West MI so I have refocused my search. Even in GR it is worse than average but not as bad as Holland or Grand Haven. One of the reasons I want to leave MI so I guess I was wrong to think it would be better in IA just because unemployment is low. We technically have a 5.9% U/E rate in the GR area and the 8.5% rate is just the effect of Detroit dragging the state up. But around here you have to "know a guy" to get a decent job. I know some people, but I guess I don't know the "right" people. I want to be an entrepreneur but I've heard of plenty of people opening up businesses only to be looked down on because people think the established businesses somehow have a right not to be competed against. The people of West MI love to praise the virtues of the free market out of one side of their mouth while engaging in gross nepotism and complaining about competition from the other. The Midwest, as insular as it is, is the same just about everywhere you go. It's kind of like a giant archipelago in a sea of corn. Sometimes I feel like in West MI I am part of an island or living in a bubble like the Truman show.

I have refocused my search on some other states that may not be as good on paper as the plains, but are better than the nation as a whole. Now I'm looking at Delaware, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Also low population, lower than average U/E but a lot more transplants.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:32 PM
1,114 posts, read 2,122,790 times
Reputation: 549
Originally Posted by ARPARP View Post
But around here you have to "know a guy" to get a decent job.
I can't imagine anywhere where this doesn't apply, especially when the job market is tight. If you are a hiring manager and you know one candidate (or have a reliable referral) and don't know the other at all, of course you are going to give some extra weight to the one you know.

And this:

I know of at least one place where a friend works where they don't post jobs and you have to know somebody to work there.
is extraordinarily common everywhere. You can google more accurate numbers, but nationwide, the percentage of jobs that are filled without ever being posted publicly is very high.

It sucks for the unconnected applicant, but I'd be surprised if you find things to be very different in other places. Best of luck in your search, though.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:46 PM
158 posts, read 376,078 times
Reputation: 229
I live in the area and it's true about hiring people you know... I grew up in a suburb of Chicago - no jobs. Met a man and moved out to CR, immediately got hired into a call center with no prior work experience, the words "good friend of..." came up more than once through my few years with the company.

After I left the company, for reasons of my own, I could not find a job for half a year. It ended up being a little shady ... (as in a whole dollar less an hour than what their listing advertized and they didn't give me hours until I asked when I was coming to work the next week...) All the other employees there are family or friends.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:59 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,150,666 times
Reputation: 5386
I'm sorry plainswalker. I wish it wasn't that way.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:47 AM
2 posts, read 3,362 times
Reputation: 17
It's that way practically everywhere. It's always who you know. Now is full of crap like who knows you on LinkedIn and Facebook. Same crap , different medium.
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