Schwab to bring 823 tech jobs to Austin

Jul 25, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Austin’s technology sector got a boost Thursday, as the governor’s office said financial services firm Charles Schwab wants to add 823 high-paying jobs to its North Austin regional office

The tech workers, who would be paid an average wage of $79,602, would be added over 10 years to the firm’s existing Austin workforce of almost 1,000 employees, according to the company’s application for local incentives. Schwab also has committed to making $196 million in capital investments, including construction of a 200,000- to 300,000-square-foot office on a 50-acre site in North Austin

Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe said that the planned site is at IBM’s Tivoli Software campus, which is across Burnet Road from the Domain shopping, office and residential center. Sarah Bulgatz, director of public relations for Charles Schwab, declined to confirm the site and said she couldn’t provide any details “about the property we have an option to purchase.”

Jon Hockenyos, president of Austin-based economic consulting firm TXP, said the new jobs will be a welcome addition to Austin’s economy

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry said the state would grant $4.5 million to the company, pending approval of local incentives by the Travis County Commissioners Court

The county’s staff is recommending a 48.5 percent rebate on property taxes for the new facility, plus a 5 percent bonus for energy-efficient construction. The county staff estimated that the incentives would cost Travis County $8.5 million but would provide $11 million in benefits over the 10 years covered by the agreement

Currently, Schwab has about 1,000 employees in Austin working in technology, retirement plan services, trading, marketing, human resources and other areas, Bulgatz said

The new jobs would pay an average salary of $79,602, with a minimum wage of $15 an hour, according to county documents. The average salary for the lowest 10 percent of new jobs would be $39,733. Schwab has agreed to require an $11 wage floor for construction workers at the new office site

The agreement requires the first phase of office construction to be completed by Dec. 31, 2016. A second phase of construction is due by the end of 2023

Schwab also is opening a call center in El Paso as part of its Texas expansion. The state is providing $1.45 million for the El Paso project, which will create 445 jobs and $21.5 million in capital investment over the next 10 years

Perry’s commitment of $5.95 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to Schwab is just the latest deal-closing incentive championed by the governor

Since the Legislature created the fund in 2003, the state has invested nearly $560 million and closed on projects generating 75,000 jobs and nearly $24 billion in capital investment across the state, according the governor’s office

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