What Makes Fayetteville, Arkansas a Growing Destination for Talent?

Envoy InsightsForeign Talent ImpactWhat Makes Fayetteville, Arkansas a Growing Destination for Talent?

Fayetteville is one of the fastest growing cities, according to Labor Condition Application (LCA) data

This fact shouldn’t come as surprising news, given the city’s unique status as a city that attracts high-skilled talent. Startups and Fortune 500 companies alike have set up shop in Fayetteville. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Fayetteville, AR, a growing destination for talent.

A closer look at one of the top 12 fastest growing cities in the U.S.

Fayetteville is the sixth-fastest growing city in the U.S., according to the number of LCAs filed in 2018. It is the third-largest city in Arkansas with a population of approximately 88,000 people. Both the city’s natural born and foreign national population are growing.

What Is an LCA?

LCA ETA Form 9035 is a central document in the visa application process. If companies are seeking to hire high-skilled foreign talent on an H-1B visa (among others), companies must first submit the LCA to attest to the employment details of the applicant.

The LCA establishes that employers pay at least the prevailing or actual wage to their sponsored foreign national employees in a given geographical area for a specific position. Additionally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses the LCA to ensure fair working conditions at the employer.

Why Fayetteville, Arkansas?

It may be surprising to hear that Fayetteville is a growing city. But dig a little deeper and it’s clear this location is an expanding hub for startup companies. In 2016, the city declared its intentions to become the “Startup City of the South.”

Startup Crawl is an event that highlights the innovative companies and their entrepreneurs. This event emphasizes the city’s goal to showcase itself and tell companies and individuals that opportunities are available outside of traditional coastal hubs.

Startups are becoming more plentiful in the Fayetteville area because of its proximity to top talent in the area. The University of Arkansas is in the city and has built a reputation for its architecture, business and science programs.

However, it’s not just startups tapping into top talent within the area. A handful of Fortune 500 companies have set up operations in or near Fayetteville. These companies include Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, Murphy USA, Windstream Holdings and Dillards.

These large companies and startups aren’t the only organizations driving hiring trends. Other top employers in the area include the University of Arkansas, Washington Regional Medical Center, Veterans Administration Medical, Washington County Government and the Fayetteville School District.

What Does the Data Say?

Based off 2018 LCA data, the following jobs were at the top in terms of LCAs filed:

  • Internets, General
  • Physicians and Surgeons, All other
  • Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education
  • Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
  • Dentists, General
  • Industrial Engineers
  • Animal Scientists
  • Business Teachers, Postsecondary

Data also shows a difference in salary levels between Fayetteville and the San Francisco Bay Area. According to the Foreign Labor Certification Department, Level 1 (entry level) software developers located in Fayetteville earn $60,902 annually. The same high-skilled talent, but based in San Francisco or Oakland, earns $94,203 annually.

There are salary differences among more experienced developers. Level 4 (high experienced software developers) in Fayetteville earn $105,310 annually. Out west, developers with a Level 4 wage earn just shy of $169,000.

The competition for talent on the West Coast is intense. Additionally, the area has a high cost of living, which can make attracting talent difficult. As such, Fayetteville is making a strong argument as an alternative for startups to form and large companies to seek talent.

Fayetteville is poised for even more growth in the coming years. Not only is it home to a vibrant startup community and notable Fortune 500 companies, but the future of work is also changing because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This combination makes a strong case for Fayetteville becoming an even more attractive destination for talent in the coming years.

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Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ryan Bay, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.