Growth in Oklahoma City amenities goes hand in hand with growth in highly paid professionals
THE holiday with a bunny-and-egg motif has come and gone. Elsewhere, a chicken-or-the-egg question has been answered.
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Which of the following had to come first: Oklahoma City offering enough amenities to attract skilled energy industry professionals, or having enough such professionals to support the amenities?
The answer is yes.
Next question: Which came more recently, the exodus of large energy firms to Texas or the exodus from Texas of many skilled energy professionals?
The answer is the latter.
Adam Wilmoth, The Oklahoman's energy editor, has taken note of recent trends in energy industry employment. A few years ago, local industry giants such as Devon and Chesapeake worked hard to convince people to relocate here. Chesapeake's Mike Huff, a recent Houston transplant, told Wilmoth that the quality of life in Oklahoma City has greatly improved along with the offering of amenities. “Good jobs drive good amenities,” he said. We would add that good amenities drive good jobs.
So which came first, the jobs or the amenities?
Again, the answer is yes.
The jobs already here and the energy firms already in place supported the development of amenities that made it easier to attract employees, who in turn increased the support base for further amenities and the resultant advantage in recruiting.
A key factor in the decision to move energy firm headquarters to Houston has been the ability to hire employees away from nearby firms. This is now happening here due to the number and the size of firms. It's a recruitment tool in and of itself: Employees making the move from Houston or Dallas or Denver want to know they won't necessarily have to move again to advance within the industry. Instead, they could change employers locally.