How Missouri Works

How does Missouri work?

With more than 2.8 million payroll employees across the state in industries that are growing and looking for recent graduates of colleges, universities, technical schools, credential programs, and apprenticeships. The numbers show that Missouri has plenty of room in the workforce for those that are interested in a whole host of careers and industries. So, how are you going to work?

7 Reasons You Should Live, Learn, and Work in Missouri

1. Companies are hiring

Three companies on Forbes 100 Best Places to Work list – Veterans United, Jones Financial (Edward Jones), and World Wide Technology – are headquartered here in Missouri. Each company employs large numbers of people and reported hundreds of job openings company wide as of March of 2021. Jones Financial reported 910 job openings, Veterans United Home Loans reported 558 openings, and World Wide Technology reported 268 job openings.

According to an October 2021 report from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), there were around 67,700 job postings in Missouri with companies hoping to hire people. If you’re looking for a new job or career change, Missouri is a good place to start. 

two people talking in a hip office space.

2. Great for remote work

A woman working on her laptop in the kitchen of her house.

Missouri is centrally located in the country, making working with both the east and west coasts convenient for remote workers or just those who need to be centrally located for travel. Additionally, high speed internet and better broadband access in rural areas has been made a priority by Gov. Mike Parson. In 2021, $400 million was budgeted to help with broadband access.  

3. Affordability

Missouri allows you to live in one of the most affordable states in the U.S. Missouri ranks the 12th lowest in the U.S. for cost of living (MERIC) and the 12th cheapest state to buy a house (learn.roofstock.com). To do a little comparison, let’s look at the cost of buying a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. According to AAA, in Missouri, as of December 2021, the average cost of a gallon of gas is $2.95 while the cost in Illinois, Missouri’s neighbor, is $3.44. 

4. Fun and romance

A riverfront view of the city of Washington Missouri

Missouri is the 10th best place to be single. We rank 12th for dating opportunities, 12th for dating economics, and 16th for romance and fun, according to wallethub.com. 

If you live and work in Missouri, there are plenty of opportunities for romance as well as places to take your romantic partner on a date. Check out 8 Places to go on a Date Night in Missouri or just go to Visit MO’s Things to Do page

5. A Land of Opportunity

Missouri ranks No.4 in the nation in opportunity for its citizens, according to USnews.com. Missouri is a great place to start or own a business, boasting a rank of 11 in the country. Missouri’s businesses weathered the pandemic better than most and the state was ranked third in the nation for pandemic proof small businesses. 

If you’re interested in taking advantage of Missouri’s business-friendly atmosphere, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office has step-by-step instructions for starting a business in Missouri.

6. Striving for Equity

Missouri ranks No.9 in the nation for equality. According to USnews.com, “the ratio of men to women in the labor force, as well as gaps between their median incomes, as well as the difference in unemployment between people with disabilities and those without, and gaps in educational achievement, income and employment between non-Hispanic whites and other racial groups” are measured to determine this. Missouri ranked 6th in the nation for equity in the income gap by race on this same list.

7. Family Friendly

Missouri is a great place to raise a family. Wallet Hub says Missouri comes in third in the nation for low cost child care, surpassed only by Mississippi and South Dakota. All 10 of Niche.com’s top 10 places to raise a family in Missouri are suburbs of St. Louis, with highly rated school systems, bright job prospects, and lower costs of living. However, St. Louis isn’t the only great place to raise a family and if you prefer the country or small-town life, there’s plenty of that too. 

This information is accurate as of December 16, 2021.

Five Great Jobs for Recent College Grads

Regardless of whether you have chosen a major, your career path might be in a different field than the one you studied for in college. That is normal. It happens all the time. Journalism students work for PR firms; biology majors go to dental school; communications grads join sales teams; etc.

Finding a first job that matches your major isn’t nearly as important as finding a job that matches your skills and passions, as well as the demands of the labor market.

It’s also worth noting that the labor market is constantly in flux. At any given time, some career fields will have an abundance of job openings, while others are scarce.

With that in mind, here are several occupations that are projected to grow over the next decade and hire a lot of recent college graduates. 

Registered Nurse

Annual Openings in Missouri: 5,525
Average Wage in Missouri: $65,130 / year
Ten-year Growth Rate in Missouri: 16.2%

A Registered Nurse who means business. Ready to save your life.

Because the U.S. population is getting older and health issues such as COVID-19 have entered the scene, quality health care demands are on the rise. That means registered nursing will be an in-demand occupation for years to come. You can work in the health care field and become a nurse with either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree. Regardless, you’ll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) after earning your degree.

The bachelor’s degree route can lead to a higher salary, faster career advancement, and more professional autonomy. Earning an associate degree in nursing instead takes less time and is less expensive.  

Registered Nurse

Because the U.S. population is getting older and health issues such as obesity are common, quality health care demands are on the rise. That means registered nursing will be an in-demand occupation for years to come. You can become a RN with either a Bachelor’s or associate degree. Regardless, you’ll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) after earning your degree.

The Bachelor’s degree route can lead to a higher salary, faster career advancement, and more professional autonomy. Earning an associate degree in nursing instead takes less time and is less expensive.  

Annual Openings in Missouri:
5,525
Average Wage in Missouri:
$65,130 / year
Ten-Year Growth Rate in Missouri:
16.2%

Hover over the image for more information!

Medical and Health Services Managers

Annual Openings in Missouri: 762
Average Wage in Missouri: $113,120 / year
Ten-year Growth Rate in Missouri: 17.8%

A group of people in scrubs. Presumably one of them is a Medical and Health Services Manager.

Americans spend $11,000 per capita on health care annually – more than any country in the world. So hospitals are hiring — much like nurses — a lot of medical and health service managers to meet the high demand for quality care. Medical and health services managers (also called health care executives or health care administrators) plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians.

Medical and Health Services Managers

Americans spend $11,000 per capita on health care annually – more than any country in the world. So hospitals are hiring — much like nurses — a lot of medical and health service managers to meet the high demand for quality care. Medical and health services managers (also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators) plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians.

Annual Openings in Missouri:
762
Average Wage in Missouri:
$113,120 / year
Ten-Year Growth Rate in Missouri:
17.8%

Hover over the image for more information!

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase. Information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related field.

Annual Openings in Missouri:
352
Average Wage in Missouri:
$91,210 / year
Ten-Year Growth Rate in Missouri:
37.5%

Hover over the image for more information!

Information Security Analyst

Annual Openings in Missouri: 352
Average Wage in Missouri: $91,210 / year
Ten-year Growth Rate in Missouri: 37.5%

Two people at a computer surrounded by hard drives and other technical equipment. The one in the foreground is typing on a computer as the person behind him is pointing at the screen. He is an Information Security Analyst.

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. Their responsibilities are continually expanding as the number of cyberattacks increase. Information security analysts usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information assurance, programming, or a related field.

Software Engineering

Interested in designing and programming computer applications? The software engineering occupation is not only high paying and rapidly growing, its barrier to entry is lower than you might think. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science will give you the theoretical knowledge that many employers are looking for, you can still get an entry-level job with an associate degree. There are also Coding Bootcamps, a relatively newer path to a software engineer career. These Bootcamp programs often take just 8 to 12 weeks and equip students with the training needed to land an entry-level job.  

Annual Openings in Missouri:
1,710
Average Wage in Missouri:
$93,880 / year
Ten-Year Growth Rate in Missouri:
26.9%

Hover over the image for more information!

Software Engineering

Annual Openings in Missouri: 1,710
Average Wage in Missouri: $93,880 / year
Ten-year Growth Rate in Missouri: 26.9%

Software Engineer at her computer

Interested in designing and programming computer applications? The software engineering occupation is not only high paying and rapidly growing, its barrier to entry is lower than you might think. While a bachelor’s degree in computer science will give you the theoretical knowledge that many employers are looking for, you can still get an entry-level job with an associate degree. There are also Coding Bootcamps, a relatively newer path to a software engineer career. These Bootcamp programs often take just 8 to 12 weeks and equip students with the training needed to land an entry-level job.  

Sales Representative, Wholesale Manufacturing -
Technical and Scientific Products

Educational requirements vary for sales representatives and depend on the type of products sold. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.

In addition to a rising total volume of sales, a wider range of products and technologies will lead to increased demand for sales representatives. Although wholesale sales are increasingly being conducted online, these online sales are expected to complement, rather than replace, face-to-face selling. Therefore, online sales are not expected to have a negative effect on employment growth for these workers.

Annual Openings in Missouri:
653
Average Wage in Missouri:
$84,150 / year
Ten-Year Growth Rate in Missouri:
8.1%

Hover over the image for more information!

Sales Representative, Wholesale Manufacturing

(Technical and Scientific Products)
Annual Openings in Missouri: 653
Average Wage in Missouri: $84,150 / year
Ten-year Growth Rate in Missouri: 8.1%

A group of Sales Representatives studying something on the computer.

Educational requirements vary for sales representatives and depend on the type of products sold. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor’s degree.

In addition to a rising total volume of sales, a wider range of products and technologies will lead to increased demand for sales representatives. Although wholesale sales are increasingly being conducted online, these online sales are expected to complement, rather than replace, face-to-face selling. Therefore, online sales are not expected to have a negative effect on employment growth for these workers.

Data provided by Missouri Economic Research & Information Center and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Operational Outlook Handbook.

What makes Missouri a Great Place for new Grads

An overhead view of the town of Hermann. The bridge is illuminated over the Missouri River

If you have just graduated college or are about to graduate college, you have probably spent a lot of time thinking about your next move.

Maybe you want to stay and work in your college town. Maybe you want to go back and work where you grew up. Maybe you’re looking for something new – a change of scenery, a clean slate.

Whether you’re looking for a big city, a smaller town, or anything in between, the state of Missouri has a lot to offer new grads.

Midwest Momentum 

For many college grads, the cost of living in America’s coastal cities is too high. Even a high paying entry-level position will only land you a small apartment with multiple roommates in places like San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C. However, that’s not the case in the Midwest.

Every year, Porch, a paid service for current and aspiring homeowners, ranks the best cities for recent college graduates to live. The ranking factors in affordability, job market, and recreational activities available in a given city.   

In 2021, according to Porch, seven of the ten best cities for new college grads are in the Midwest. All ten cities are in landlocked states.

St. Louis

The state of Missouri fared well in Porch’s rankings. St. Louis scored the second-highest score among large metros to move to after college. This high ranking can be mostly attributed to St Louis’ low cost of living, which is about 10 percent less than the average large-size U.S. metro. And with large employers such as Ascension Health Alliance, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Emerson Electric, the unemployment rate for recent graduates in St. Louis is 1.8 percent.

The riverfront of St. Louis showing the Gateway Arch and other buildings at night. There is a slight reflection on the water.

Kansas City

The plaza fountain in Kansas City

The city on the west side of the state also ranks high among large metros for recent grads. Porch lists Kansas City at No.8.

Recent grads, especially those from Missouri’s colleges and universities, have been flocking to Kansas City for years – more so than St. Louis even.

With a championship NFL team in the Chiefs, an elite concert venue in the T-Mobile Center, awesome shopping at the Plaza, and a great late-night scene at Westport– on top of a strong job market and relatively low cost of living — Kansas City is a preferred destination for young people just starting their careers.   

Smaller Cities

If you’re looking for something a little smaller, less crowded, more cost effective, Missouri has some great small and midsize cities. Porch ranked Jefferson City the No.1 small metro for recent college graduates because of its low cost of living and strong job market. There are large companies headquartered in the state’s smaller cities, such as Bass Pro Shop and O’Reilly Auto Parts which are both headquartered in Springfield. St. Joseph’s cost of living is lower than the Missouri average, yet you’d still be only a one-hour drive away from Kansas City. Exploring Missouri’s small and mid-sized city options can offer the recent college graduate plenty of opportunity to choose from.   

Missouri State Capitol in the Spring. There are tulips in front of it.

Making the most of a virtual internship

In the world of COVID-19, virtual may be the new normal for a lot of people. Going forward, school, work, and meetings will likely include an online or remote element. The same can be said for internships.

Internships provide great opportunities for college students to gain insights into the work they will be doing in their chosen career path. However, an internship where the work is done primarily in a remote setting can come with a few added difficulties.  

Here are some tips on how you can make the most of a virtual internship:

Ensure that you have good communication skills

It is hard sometimes to understand certain projects or work you may be assigned. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for clarification. A simple email or call could be the difference between completing the project successfully and messing it up. Do not be afraid to ask questions, you are not in the physical office building, so communication is essential!

Establish a schedule

Being a virtual intern means there is a lot more room for distraction than if you were in person. By establishing set times throughout the week to work on assignments for your internship, you will be organized and get things done on time.

Plan introductory meetings with the staff you will be working with

Establishing good working relationships is a little more difficult when you are interning virtually, but it is not impossible! Ask your supervisor which staff members you’ll be working closely with. Then schedule meetings with those staff members and get to know them. Just because your internship is virtual does not mean you can’t create mutually beneficial relationships with your coworkers!

Get the most out of the internship that will benefit you in the future

Internships may be a little different virtually, but that does not mean they are any less important. Work hard on all the projects you are given, ask for feedback, establish what kind of work you enjoy, and make sure to challenge yourself. If you feel like your workload is a little light, ask your boss for a few additional projects. A virtual internship may be hard at first, but you can get just as much out of it as you would if you were in person!