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Chapter 28 – The Job Market

The Job Market

More often than not relocating to a new city is a life-changing decision, one that can affect your family, your day-to-day lifestyle, and especially your job. The quality of job opportunities tops the priority list for most people looking to relocate, and as such, a city or region’s job market weighs heavily on magazines’ and websites’ “Best Places to Live” or “Best Places to Relocate” lists and ratings.

Below is a collection of statistics and figures to help you become familiar with the opportunities that Maui and the Hawaiian islands may offer.


The two largest employers in Hawaii are the U.S. Military and, not surprisingly, the tourism and hospitality industry. The latter is particularly true of Maui which has consistently been voted among the best islands in the entire world. Despite the 2008 economic fallout which hit the tourism industry particularly hard, Hawaii is bouncing back with an unemployment rate below the national average.

In terms of what kind of work people on Maui are doing, about 20% of Maui’s population find work through government agencies and nonprofit organizations, while a larger group describe themselves as self-employed and the largest majority (about 40%) is employed in the private sector. It is worth noting that big business and company headquarters don’t tend to find their way to Maui as easily as they do to parts of the mainland where the cost of living is lower and travel to and fro isn’t as onerous as it is to getting on and off the Hawaiian islands. In addition, the low-key island lifestyle that is so appealing to many who relocate to Maui lends itself much more to the entrepreneurial spirit than 80 hour week corporate CEO.

Still, there are jobs out there if you know where to look! It’s best to begin job hunting before your move to Maui since it is a relatively small county and you will likely want your daily commute to involve a short car ride rather than a boat or plane ride as it would require if you find work off the island.

Maui County is made up of numerous small cities and towns which vary slightly in their most common industries and occupations. These tend to be the best areas to start your job hunt due to the higher number of positions available and concentrations of tourist hubs. Kahului is the largest city with a population of over 26,000 as of the 2010 census. Other areas of notable size include Wailuku (the county seat), Kihei (the most populated town in southern Maui), and Lahaina (the most populated area on the western shore). The data below reflect these most populated cities and towns on Maui.

However, as you review the data, don’t forget the occupations and industries included are only a small representation of Maui and Hawaii’s overall job market. If you prefer to evaluate job opportunities by employer, a section on the area’s largest employers follows.


Most Common Industries for Men, 2007-2011

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Retail trade
  • Construction
  • Educational services
  • Administrative and support and waste management services
  • Real estate and rental and leasing
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Most Common Occupations for Men, 2007-2011

  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
  • Electrical equipment mechanics and other installation, maintenance, and repair occupations including supervisors
  • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
  • Agricultural workers including supervisors
  • Other food preparation and serving workers including supervisors
  • Other sales and related workers including supervisors
  • Material recording, scheduling, dispatching, and distributing workers

Most Common Industries for Women, 2007-2011

  • Accommodation and food services
  • Retail trade
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Educational services
  • Other services, except public administration
  • Public administration
  • Real estate and rental and leasing
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Most Common Occupations for Women, 2007-2011

  • Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations
  • Information and record clerks except customer service representatives
  • Cashiers
  • Other office and administrative support workers including supervisors
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants
  • Other sales and related workers including supervisors
  • Retail sales except cashiers

While the cost of living and regulatory environment may discourage big corporate headquarters, numerous national sources including Forbes and Chief Executive Magazine acknowledge that the quality of life on Maui is hard to beat. And if you’re looking to relocate to an area with a diverse population, beautiful climate and opportunities for professionals in construction, education, health care, hospitality management and other associated industries, Maui may just be the place for you.


In addition to the government agencies that have made their home on Maui, a number of corporate powerhouses have also established roots on Maui. Below is a selection of the area’s largest employers. The list includes government agencies and organizations as well as private corporations. For a full listing of the 50 largest employers on Maui, visit

Healthcare and Education

  • Maui Memorial Medical Center is the only acute care facility on the island and operates several auxiliary sites that, all together, employ hundreds of medical and administrative workers as well as maintenance staff and patient support workers. Visit or call 808-244-9056.
  • Hawaii Department of Education employs more than 25,000 workers across the state. Search for positions, read about licensure requirements and the salary and benefits offered at or call Human Resources 808-586-3420.
  • County of Maui has a diverse workforce ranging from engineers to secretarial staff. Maui Police and Fire Departments rank among the largest employers on the island. Visit to search for positions and apply on-line.
  • State of Hawaii operates government offices on Maui in addition to those in the state capital of Honolulu. Search for positions near you at or call 808-587-1111.
  • University of Hawaii Maui College is a campus of the University of Hawaii located on Maui in Kahului. It employs academic as well as administrative support staff. Visit to search for a position that best fits your skills.
  • Nursefinders place qualified nurses in permanent, temporary, or per diem positions as needed. Largely specializing in home health care placements, Nursefinders also staffs allied health workers and physicians. Visit
  • Hale Makua Health Services is a Maui based company offering day services, long-term care, residential care and home health care for older adults. Visit for current opportunities.

Hospitality and Tourism

If you’re looking for a job in this industry, there are a host of options to choose from. Every major resort requires literally hundreds of employees to keep their doors open and guests happy. Here is but a selection of the top employers on Maui:


  • Grand Wailea Resort is the second largest employer on Maui operated by the Waldolf Astoria Resorts. Thousands are employed here doing everything from high-level administration to guest services. Visit
  • Ritz-Carlton- Kapalua operates one of its luxury hotels on Maui with employment opportunities for all levels of hospitality professionals. Visit to search for and apply for jobs on-line.
  • Hyatt Regency Resort is the third largest hospitality employer on Maui located in Lahaina with 806 guest rooms. Visit for employment information.
  • Four Seasons- Maui is located on the popular Wailea Beach and has the largest number of guest rooms on the island making it another major employer in Maui. Visit to search for jobs at the Maui resort.
  • Westin Maui is located on Ka’anapali beach, perhaps Maui’s best known beach. A variety of positions is available and listed at or call the 24-hour job hotline which is updated regularly at 808-661-2509.

Agriculture, Construction and Factory

  • Hawaiian Commercial Sugar Company is a leader in the sugarcane industry and is one of Maui’s largest private employers offering 800 jobs from field to factory. Visit or call 808-877-6951
  • Dorvin D Leis Co, Inc. is the largest mechanical contractor in Hawaii. Working on construction projects big and small, this company maintains a trained workforce throughout Hawaii making it one of the largest private employers on Maui. Visit for the most recent job opportunities.
  • Dole Food Company is the world’s largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. They employ 36,000 full-time workers worldwide in addition to 23,000 seasonal employees. Opportunities are available from farm to factory as well as in management. Find available positions by visiting


  • Costco,, has locations in eight countries and billions of dollars in annual sales. Their location in Maui is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike to buy low-cost staples. Visit for employment information.
  • WalMart,, employs over two million people worldwide in WalMart and Sam’s Club stores as well as drivers, corporate office workers, optometrists and pharmacists. To learn about job opportunities, visit
  • Macy’s offers positions ranging from part-time sales associates to full-time leadership and management positions.
  • Home Depot was recently listed among the top military friendly companies in the United States. Opportunities in sales, management, call center, supply chain/merchandising, and corporate office can all be found at


  • Maui Electric Company is an auxiliary of Hawaiian Electric Company which provides 95% of electric power to the Hawaiian islands. Positions run the gamut from engineers to skilled electricians. Visit for current job openings.



It would be hard to beat Maui’s tropical climate and Aloha spirit. However, a quick Google search will often indicate to those thinking of relocating to Maui that the overall cost of living is much higher than on the mainland. This can reasonably leave the potential Maui resident to wonder—can I afford it? While there are some additional expenses associated with living in Hawaii, you may find that the higher median income combined with the other benefits of island living more than make up for it!


In 2009, Maui had a median household income nearly $12,000 higher than the rest of the country.

Median household incomes are calculated by considering the income received during a calendar year by all of a household’s members (15 years old and over) and then finding the middle point, or median, of that distribution such that half of households have an income above the median and the other half below. This is then calculated across a particular region such as the County of Maui. This figure is considered to be a general indicator of economic well-being of households in that particular region. Here you can see how Maui measures up compared to the rest of the United States and the other Hawaiian islands.


Region                         Median Household Income from 2010 Census Data

United States                          $52,762

Hawaii                                     $67,611

Maui County                         $64,583

Hawaii County                        $53,591

Honolulu County                    $71,263

Kauai County                          $64,422

Kalawao County                     $56,875



The economic fallout in 2008 hit Maui hard just as it did much of the United States. The real estate market was particularly affected. However, Maui has weathered the storm and home prices are now rebounding as the unemployment rate continues to decline as it has for more than a year now. As of October 2013, Maui’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, well below the national unemployment rate of 7.3%


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics,


Much has been made about the cost of living in Hawaii but the truth is that it is comparable to many major cities in the United States. Yes, it is expensive but perhaps not more so than one would expect living in one of the most idyllic and highly desirable locations in the country. The effects of the 2008 recession made the cost of buying a home in Hawaii considerably less expensive than it was prior although housing prices are expected to eventually climb back up. Other costs, such as groceries, tend to be relatively more expensive as well while other key expenses, such as the cost of health care, are comparable when compared to the cities listed below.

A number of organizations have produced cost-of-living figures. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index in perhaps the best known and most respected. It takes into account the variances in the cost of consumer goods and services for each region and is considered one of the dependable stats on cost of living in U.S. metropolitan areas. According to the ACCRA, the Hawaii’s composite cost-of-living index is 165.7 (National cost of living = 100). This means that the cost of living in Hawaii is about 66% more expensive than the national average.


City                                        Cost of Living Index

Honolulu, HI                         165.7

New York (Manhattan), NY 216.7

San Francisco, CA                 164.0

Washington, D.C.                  140.1

Los Angeles, CA                   136.4

Anchorage, AK                     128.4

Chicago, IL                            116.9

Portland, OR                         111.3

Orlando, FL                           97.8

Atlanta, GA                           95.6


Note: Cities participate in the ACCRA survey voluntarily and Honolulu is the only city with the most comparable data to Maui available.


Whether you rely on the hard numbers or anecdotal data the bottom line is the same: It is indeed expensive to live in Hawaii. However, when compared to other highly desired locations such as metropolitan areas throughout the United States, Maui and the Hawaiian islands are more competitive when it comes to the cost of living than one might initially think.


Now that you’ve read about what kind of jobs are out there and what companies are likely to offer those jobs, a more important question remains: How do you find those jobs? With the pervasiveness of the Internet, “hitting the pavement” has been replaced by “hitting the search engines.”

Nearly every major corporation these days posts job openings on their corporate websites. Others may choose to use online job-posting sites such as or to get the word out about open positions. As a result, a lot of job-hunting footwork can actually be done by your fingers.

In addition to the resources below, check out a few relocation guides available on-line which offer useful tips for your move to Maui including how to find a job. Here are some of the best resources for sniffing out job openings in and around your new home:

  • Corporate Websites are some of the best resources for job posting, especially if you have a particular company in mind for which you would like to work. Employment opportunities are usually posted under the human resources sections of companies’ websites. Some companies only advertise job openings on their website so it’s a good idea to regularly check company sites to see if anything has opened up. Almost all of the companies listed earlier in this section have career sections on their website and they encourage, if not require, job seekers to apply on-line.
  • CareerBuilder,, is one of the largest online job-posting sites available today. According to CareerBuilder, more than 300,000 employers post more than 1 million jobs on the Website. Job seekers can browse job openings for free and can even post their resumes for recruiters to review.
  • Monster,, is another popular online job-posting site. Since its launch in 1994, Monster has become well known as a go-to place for potential job opportunities. Like CareerBuilder, job seekers can search the site for free and post their resumes for potential employers to review.
  • lists jobs in the nonprofit sector across the country. Search by organization, job title or location and find jobs that help make a difference in your community. You can also sign up for email alerts when jobs are posted that fit your pre-selected interests and criteria. Both job seekers and employers can post and search for free.
  • CraigsList,, probably best known as the go-to place to post online ads to get rid of your unwanted junk, is a great source for job opportunities, both big and small. CraigsList has become a main source for job leads as many employers prefer to avoid the costs associated with posting jobs on sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Job postings on CraigsList can be hit or miss, but if you have the motivation and time to sift through the postings, it’s likely you’ll find a great job lead.
  •,, is a great resource if you’re not too keen on searching through dozens of job postings on CareerBuilder, Monster, and CraigsList. is essentially a search engine that pulls information down from job-posting sites and puts them into one free, searchable database. doesn’t always catch every post, but it can be a great time saver if you’re in a time crunch.
  • The Maui News,, is Maui’s newspaper of record, has as an online job bank in partnership with,


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