We really lucked out getting a job in Hawaii, we weren't even really trying. Over the years, whenever Dave is in the market for a new job he always applies to the obvious places and then he also applies to a dream job or two. He has applied for all sorts of exciting things that were generally out of reach but nonetheless worth the stretch. His recent job offer is the first dream job that has been offered to him.
Most people who want to move to Hawaii aren't so lucky. In fact, most people in Hawaii aren't so lucky. Though the state enjoys a modest unemployment rate hovering around 6% (the average over the last 20 years is 3%) most of those employees are not working a dream job. The average weekly earnings of all Hawaiian employees is $745.25 per week working 32.7 hours. That means they are earning an average of $22.79 per hour. Not bad you say? Well don't forget to figure in the cost of living. Their taxes are higher, their food and gas costs are higher and their housing costs are a LOT higher. That $22.79 in Hawaii is like making $18/hour in Seattle or $15/hour in Fresno, California or South Carolina or $12/hour in Boise Idaho or $10/hour in Oklahoma City or if you want to compare it to your city check out this cost of living calculator.
And if you think you can make it by just hopping on over there and just grabbing a waitressing job or a housecleaning job because there are so many tourists to serve and make money off of you're only half right. There are a lot of tourists. Tourism and all it's off-shoots--transportation, leisure, hospitality, etc.- comprise nearly a quarter of the economy. Hawaii makes a lot of money off it's tourists. Waitresses and housecleaners do not. The minimum wage in Hawaii is the same as the federal minimum wage: $7.25/hr. Remember our computations earlier with the $22.79? Well, that $7.25/hour in Hawaii computes to $5.80/hr in Seattle, and less than $3.50/hr in Oklahoma City. Do you think you'll ever have time to enjoy a beach if you're working for that kind of money? Perhaps on that kind of money you'll be living on the beach--homeless!
Enough with the downers. If you are really contemplating moving to Hawaii I hope you are really going there with a plan and with a degree. The State of Hawaii Workforce Infonet states in it's yearly report:
"Trade, transportation, and utilities reported the biggest job loss of 7,200 between 2008 and 2009. Only education and health services and government managed positive growth over the past year. Over the last five years, education and health services has led industry job growth. While there will be many job openings for workers with limited skills, about one in five openings will require a bachelor’s degree or higher."
Currently education and health services makes up 12.6% of jobs in Hawaii and government provides 21% of jobs. What this tells me is that if you are a government employee a health services employee or an educator you should be able to find a job in Hawaii, especially if you're not picky where that job is (just somewhere near a beach, right?!).
K-12 Education is run by essentially one school district. If you are interested in a teaching job you should read the entire state department of education website. It has information on job openings and teaching requirements and even substitute teaching opportunities--substitutes make $120-$150/day.
There are three main Universities in Hawaii if you are interested in working for them check out their websites:
BYU-Hawaii (this is Dave's dream and future employer)
University of Hawaii (and satellites)
There are a lot of different healthcare opportunities and the best thing I can tell you to do for those is to Google Healthcare jobs and start searching.
If you want a government job--and who doesn't? great benefits, lots of paperwork, leave early on Fridays, ha, ha, ha--check out the state job opportunities site and this federal jobs site.