Security Clearance Jobs Buck Slow Employment Trend

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While unemployment rates are predicted to hover around five to six percent through the Summer, the US defense industry is in a hiring boom. In particular, jobs that require security clearances are abundant and the candidates qualified to fill them are in high demand.

While the national economy grows at a slow but steady pace, the U.S. defense industry is responding to a surge of revenue brought about by the President's $380 billion budget for fiscal year 2004. New initiatives in homeland security and wars on multiple fronts have produced thousands of government contracts with increasing numbers of open job positions to fill.

Unfortunate for most of the U.S. workforce, the majority of these newly created jobs require candidates to be pre-cleared for access to sensitive data regarding national security. Job seekers with active security clearances possess a highly valuable asset. While not a guarantee of employment, an active clearance is always the primary requirement for most defense-related job positions. "Without the proper security clearance, a candidate cannot even set foot in the door of the facility where they would work" notes Rachel Staras, founder of, and internet job board dedicated only to candidates with active clearances.

The growth of opportunities for cleared candidates is echoed by Mary Jo Wentzel, a Human Resources Generalist for Government Micro Resources, Inc., a leading government contractor in the metro Washington, DC area. "In the past year GMRI has experienced a 10 fold increase in the number of positions open in the cleared community."

In addition to helping candidates land top jobs in a booming industry, a job seeker holding an active clearance can often command up to $10,000 more in salary per year when compared to their non-cleared counterparts. Defense industry employers often overlook lacking skills in candidates that possess higher level clearances. Staras, whose job board recently registered its 10,000th job seeker with an active clearance explains: "With the process to clear a previously uncleared worker still taking up to eighteen months, employers are finding it more cost effective to hire someone with fewer skills and train them, than clearing an uncleared job seeker."

An interesting hiring trend is what Staras calls the "Reservist Factor." Employers are now required to fill both new positions opened by won contracts, as well as existing positions held by military reservists called up for active duty. David Morris, analyst for Immedia Technology Group, Inc. says; "Longer tours of duty are leaving critical job positions open for as much as half a year. Employers in and out of the defense industry are feeling this unique pinch."

The opportunity for cleared job seekers is abundant, and the range of positions grows wider each year. Traditional jobs like network engineer, intelligence analyst, and office manager are always available as ongoing requirements. With the new wave of defense spending, demand for more unique positions like Arabic linguists, construction workers, and counter-terrorism experts are coming more and more to the forefront. All positions require an active security clearance, and many jobs are located in international hot spots including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. Staras and her staff at give special attention to registered candidates who are active military, and presently serving in places of danger. "We offer them free career advice, format and post their resumes for them, and generally do what we can to make their lives a bit more pleasant. For what these folks are doing for us, a little extra time and courtesy is an easy trade off."


Evan Lesser


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