Under Governor Doug Ducey’s leadership, we’ve had great success in advancing Arizona’s business and financial services sector, a key industry which is poised for continued growth and job creation in 2018 and beyond.
Major institutions have expanded here in recent years, bringing high-paying careers and positioning our state as a regional hub in banking, finance and insurance.
Look no further than Bank of the West’s expansion in Tempe, one of the latest exciting entries into our growing marketplace. The expansion is expected to create up to 1,000 financial services industry jobs at this location by the end of 2018. The institution’s commitment to Arizona is no doubt bolstered by our region’s robust pipeline of talented professionals and favorable business climate.
The sector is a high-paying, critical, growing part of the Arizona economy. It employs 4 percent of the state’s workforce – more than 100,000 people. This workforce has grown by 13 percent since 2012, compared with 3 percent growth nationally. These jobs pay $76,247 per year on average, compared with the current state median wage of $35,470.
Bank of the West’s choice to locate in Tempe is just one example of the return on investment gained by Arizonans from the work of the Arizona Commerce Authority and our economic development partners. In Fiscal Year 2017, for example, we completed 10 financial services industry projects with firms including Charles Schwab, Upgrade Inc. and Northern Trust, representing more than 3,000 jobs during the next three years.
The ACA not only works with numerous financial firms throughout the industry, but also with companies that provide services to banks and finance companies.
These efforts are part of the ACA’s updated five-year plan, which includes aggressive goals. One is to lead efforts to create 80,000 projected new jobs with a focus on high-wage target industries. Another is to increase the average wage of the jobs created to 150 percent of the state’s 2017 median average.
With a business-focused governor, great partners like the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and private-sector business leaders, we expect to exceed these goals and continue to deliver on our mission as the state’s leading economic development organization to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy.
Sandra Watson is President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority