Bill Golden’s assessment of Illinois for military professionals that are transitioning and looking for a new home:
There is no defense jobs marketplace of any significance in Illinois. Your military background will get a smile and a nod but it will be unappreciated. There is a semi-robust jobs market around Scott AFB, but it is largely IT skillsets. You would be frustrated if you focused on this geographic area and tried to sell your military skillsets, unless you came from the IT field.
Illinois has a diverse marketplace BUT its strengths are in manufacturing and selling stuff that gets built. The marketplace is agnostic. Some of everything gets designed, marketed and sold out of Illinois. Average salaries for professionals ranges from $93-105K. Illinois is an area where educators also get respect and make decent money: $90K for ES, MS, HS administrators.
Illinois’ unemployment rate recently improved to 6.8% but it has been stuck in the 7-8.5% range for much of 2014. The trend is one of improvement since the year’s start — and there has been significant improvement (Jan 2014: 8.7%, Jul 2014: 6.8%). What this means for you: it could take 8-10 weeks to find that ‘good job’. If the market really is improving for the long haul then there could be some significant opportunities pop up as employers decide that they need to ramp up to meet demand. Being in Illinois now could mean being at the right place at the right time! However, it also means that employers are going to be sluggish in their hiring until they see a few more months of market improvement — although many Illinois companies would probably be quite happy even if it were to stay where it is for the rest of 2014.
WGolden /AT/ IntelligenceCareers.com