I have a series of articles about moving to Hawaii so I’m always getting comments from people that are ready to make the jump from the mainland, or even from overseas to Hawaii and want advice on how to best go about moving to the Hawaiian islands. This article will cover some of the essentials about moving to and finding a job in Hawaii on one of the islands.
Moving to Hawaii requires a reality check on 2 issues that none of us escape…
1. Cost of living in Hawaii is probably much more expensive than where you live now.
2. Jobs are not that available. I’m talking about good jobs, jobs you want, jobs that you can find maybe in any other state in the nation. Jobs from which you can pick and choose.
The first point I’ll cover in other articles – Hawaii cost of living. It’s atrocious. It’s expected. You’re living in easily the most beautiful place in the USA – so, you’ll pay for it. How could you expect otherwise?
The second reality check involves JOBS. Job availability especially.
Someone wrote me recently and said she and her husband were thinking of moving to Maui. They didn’t have jobs yet. I thought – this deserves a whole post.
Finding a job on Oahu might be quite difficult if you’re looking for something specific. When I moved back in 2002 I knew I wanted a job working in the internet marketing area since that was my specialty. I knew I wanted to make $50K minimum, but hopefully $70K. I was willing to wait a year or so before making it to $70K. The online business world was going very strong at that point and I didn’t have trouble within 2 weeks of lining up a great position with a up-and-coming dotcom that was actually a front for a massive spam operation. Legal spam that is… permission-based email.
The jobs available in Hawaii are, of course, mostly based on tourism. I think the second biggest area might be for construction and manual labor. At least that’s how I see it. The available jobs are most often in these two areas. If you can work in either of those two industries you probably won’t have any trouble at all finding a job on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
That’s just Oahu. Oahu has over 1 million residents and there is some variety in the tourism area. You could even start your own unique tour business – but, that’s another post as well. Oahu is not that difficult to find jobs on – and, you’ll probably be fine if that’s where you want to live.
Now, on to the other islands…
I’ve spent a year plus on Maui – working as a Marketing Manager for a resort firm there. Maui is heavenly – it was a perfect match for me. Many people that visit Maui think the same thing. Maui is high on the list of those wanting to move to Hawaii – but few of you will have the resources you need in order to make it there.
In my case I started on Oahu and found what I thought might be the perfect job on Maui. It’s much easier to start on Oahu and transition to another island from there. Much easier because you are now “in Hawaii” and can interview for positions on other islands. As you probably know it’s very difficult to secure a position in Hawaii without first already living in Hawaii. A necessary catch-22 for most businesses looking to hire full-time staff. They want to meet you first. Go figure…
If you’re coming straight to one of the smaller (in population) islands – Big Island, Kauai, Maui, or god forbid Lanai or Molokai you’ll want to have your ducks order. Ducks meaning duckies. Cash savings. You’ll want to have a lot of reserves because the reality of moving to one of the smaller Hawaiian islands without a job is that you’re going to spend a lot of your cash reserves just on basic living expenses until you find a job.
Finding a job on Maui – if I just arrived there – would be quite difficult. I can do a hundred different jobs related to internet marketing – but, it’s quite possible that when I arrived – nobody is hiring.
If you have job skills in an area that doesn’t relate to tourism or construction or something that relates directly to positions needed in Hawaii – in Maui, or one of the other islands besides Oahu – you might have a REALLY tough time of finding a job.
Kauai would be worse than Maui. Molokai and Lanai would be virtually impossible.
Big Island – I’m not sure. There are two populations centers but in 2010 there were only 185,000 residents on Big Island. Cost of living is cheaper than Oahu or Maui, but still – the number of job openings must be pretty weak. Especially during this time of economic flatline.
I’d welcome comments about Big Island and whether someone could fly from the mainland, set up an apartment and find a job quickly – in the tourism industry – or other industry. How easy would it be? Know anyone that did it?
So, to wrap it up I would say this about moving to Hawaii and finding a job…
Moving to Hawaii is a great idea. It might be the best idea you ever had. Moving to Hawaii is difficult and the expenses you’ll face, and the difficulty you may have in landing a job, are things you need to take into prolonged consideration. If it were me I would try desperately to find a couple of companies that are hiring for what I do before I moved. That way at least there’s a chance I could have a job quickly and not use all my savings as I ran all over the islands to find a job.
I’d not recommend moving directly to any other island except Oahu unless you have a serious stash of cash and you don’t mind blowing it.
Resources I would use to find jobs in Hawaii while still on the mainland:
Twitter – do a search on “hawaii” or “hawaiian” and try to locate and befriend people living in Hawaii.
FaceBook – again, search people in Hawaii and join groups that are focused on Hawaii
Still want to move to Hawaii?
I just created my best article ever about the subject here –
How to Find a Job in Hawaii (click)
Want to Move to Hawaii?
Our newest book, “Moving to Hawaii – the Good, Bad, and Ugly” is available at Amazon and has been updated for 2014. Get it by clicking the book cover on the right side column –>
Best of Luck!
Learn more about Moving to, Living in, and Working in Hawaii:
- Hawaii home business opportunities?
- Hawaii Home Business Startups
- Move to Hawaii to Teach?
- Moving to Hawaii? Use Twitter.
- Living in Hawaii – Hawaiian Style
- Want to Change Your Life? Move to Hawaii!
Photo credit: NJScott, Flickr.com user – creative commons license.