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Working in Dallas
Find out how to get a job and work in Dallas
As a major economic center in Texas and the United States, Dallas offers lots of job opportunities to expats moving there. On top of that, the general quality of life makes working in Dallas a great choice. Read on to learn about the economy, the job search, social security, and taxation in Dallas.
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Employment in Dallas
- With a growth rate twice as fast as the national average, Dallas is one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies, and therefore has a lot to offer for expats wanting to settle down in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
- Many large companies have their headquarters in Downtown Dallas, the central business district of the Metroplex. This vibrant area is especially popular among entrepreneurs and young professionals.
- Compared to the rest of the US, business culture in Dallas is less direct and it is normal to have a little small talk before engaging in negotiations. Southern politeness definitely plays an important role while doing business in Dallas.
- You need to take the IRS’ Substantial Presence Test in order to know how you have to file your tax return. Depending on your residency status, you are either taxed like a US citizen or only have to pay taxes on your US income.
Those who move to Texas with plans of working in Dallas will be happy to find that the city, and its surrounding area, is an ideal place to find a job. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies, such as JCPenney, AT&T, Texas Instruments, and Exxon Mobil. Moreover, the city boasts a stable economy that weathered the 2008/2009 financial crisis quite admirably.
Downtown Dallas: The Vibrant Central Business District
Also known as Downtown Dallas, the city’s central business district is the place to go for global minds planning on working in Dallas. This area is home to various arts and culture establishments, such as the Dallas Museum of Art and the Meyerson Symphony Center. Of course, you should be able to find opportunities for working in Dallas’s central business district in other fields as well. Many large companies have their headquarters in this area, including Comerica, Deloitte LLP, and the Dallas Morning News.
About 135,000 people are currently working in Dallas’s central business district. While this vibrant district is definitely the place to be for entrepreneurs and young professionals, residential buildings are still rare, and most people prefer to move to calmer neighborhoods or the suburbs.
Dallas: One of the Fastest-Growing Economies in the US
In 2014, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex continued its economic growth and boasted the fourth-highest GDP among metropolitan areas in the country. The area is home to about two-fifths of Texas’ high-tech workers and roughly one-third of the state’s employees in the business services sector.
The city’s growing population is part of the reason for the strong economic growth in North Texas. Many people have migrated from other states to the Lone Star State and have begun working in Dallas, boosting the real estate and services sectors. The industrial diversity of the area is of course also a major factor.
At 2.7%, the Metroplex economy is growing twice as fast as the national average of 1.3%. However, hovering around 20%, the portion of people in Dallas who are under the poverty line is a fair bit higher than the country’s average of about 14%. For expats, though, factors such as a relatively low cost of living and the area’s economic growth still make working in Dallas an attractive opportunity.
Dallas’ Job Market: Strong Economy and Diverse Sectors
Employing hundreds of thousands of people, Dallas’ business and professional services as well as education and health services are the city’s biggest industries. In 2015, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex economy increased the number of jobs in the area by 3.3% for the year, creating plenty of opportunities for working in Dallas. Furthermore, the unemployment rate has been consistently lower than both the Texas and the national averages, with a current rate of 4.0% in July 2016.
Expats with skills in the telecommunications field who plan on working in Dallas County should look to the Telecom Corridor in Richardson, which is home to a host of such companies, like Nortel, Ericsson, and Southwestern Bell. As Dallas and its surrounding area are also major destinations for tourists, migrants, and Americans intent on working in Dallas or finding a better quality of life, the tourism and real estate sectors are major contributors to the city’s economy as well.
Generally speaking, the city’s diverse economy makes working in Dallas a highly attractive option for job seekers. In fact, the city was ranked 15th among US cities for business and career prospects by Forbes in 2015. In particular, well-paid jobs are on the uptick in the area, in part thanks to defense manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, which offer well-paid work in the area. The median household income of people working in Dallas and the Metroplex is approximately 58,000 USD — about 5,000 USD above the national average.
Your Chances Are High: Finding a Job in Dallas
Working in Dallas is a great choice for expats who wish to settle down in the Lone Star State. Texas is relatively stable in terms of its economy, and the cost of living is reasonable. If you are interested in a job with one of the bigger companies in Dallas, it’s always a good start to visit their websites and browse the job listings. Of course, searching online can be helpful as well. Job search engines such as Monster.com, Indeed.com, and SimplyHired.com allow you to filter results by career level, sector, and salary.
Moreover, you shouldn’t underestimate business networking as a way to realize your dream of working in Dallas. Letting your business partners know that you are interested in a job might yield a tip or two about open positions before they are publicly advertised. You can even do this before you arrive in the United States: attend local trade fairs and business-related events at your nearest US embassy, or begin by networking online to increase your chances of someday working in Dallas.
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Dallas: Etiquette, Social Security, and Taxation
Dust Off That Southern Politeness: Business Etiquette in Dallas
Chances are you already have a general idea about business etiquette in the United States. In Texas, however, some things may be handled a little differently. While business negotiations, like in most of the USA, tend to be rather direct and to the point, you can expect a fair amount of southern politeness while working in Dallas. It is essential to be polite, respect authority figures, open doors for the handicapped or elderly, and simply show common courtesy in general.
Greeting everyone in the room with a handshake is also a welcome gesture. After all, a firm handshake can be a sign of enthusiasm and respect. Before meetings formally begin, small talk about the weather, traffic, or the well-being of your family is very common. However, in this setting it is best to avoid controversial topics, such as politics and religion. You are, after all, deep in the heart of the Lone Star State, and most Texans tend to be rather conservative. This is also reflected in the dress code and general behavior.
Don’t Forget to Get Your Social Security Number
Everyone working in Dallas needs a social security number to collect social security benefits and receive other government services. The benefits are funded through payroll taxes and cover retirement, disability, and survivors. Currently, as an employee, you contribute 6.2% of your income to social security, and so does your employer. Medicare is funded in the same way at 1.45% of your salary. Self-employed individuals, however, pay the full 12.4% and 2.9%.
Currently, the USA has bilateral social security agreements with 25 countries. If your country of origin is among them, you won’t have to pay social security contributions in both countries. In any case, it is important that you gather as much information on social security as possible. This will help prevent any unpleasant surprises when you try to claim benefits, and it will give you a sense of when an additional insurance policy might make sense for you.
Resident or Non-Resident Alien? All about Taxation in Texas
Even though Texas is one of the seven states that do not have an income tax, you are taxed on the federal level and therefore need to file an annual tax return. How you have to file your tax return and the amount of taxes you have to pay largely depends on your tax residency status. For tax purposes, you can be considered a “resident alien”, a “non-resident alien”, or a “dual status taxpayer”. Note that these classifications are unrelated to your visa and immigration status. In most cases, fiscal residency is granted to expats with a Green Card or those who have passed a “substantial presence test”.
If you have neither, you are considered a non-resident alien. This means that only your income from US sources will be taxed. The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has a lot of information on international taxpayers. The Dallas County Tax Office is the place to turn to for information on taxation in Dallas specifically.
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