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California is often credited as the USA's most fertile ground for innovation, and Los Angeles, alongside San Francisco, is one of the primary driving forces behind the state's spirit of ingenuity and sense of creativity.
Additionally, expats considering working in LA will find themselves at the heart of a well-oiled manufacturing machine and amidst one of the world's busiest ports.
Job market in Los Angeles
The city's economy is exceptionally diverse, but due to its impressive population – the second highest in the country – the varied nature of business in LA doesn't always equate with job opportunities.
First and foremost, Los Angeles is often seen as synonymous with the entertainment industry. For decades, the allure of Hollywood has nudged both local and foreign migrants to abandon dour nine-to-five jobs in favour of moving to LA to follow their dreams of stardom. Needless to say, not everyone achieves their dream of fame in LA – but as a hub of creative industries, the city may offer satisfying and exciting career development opportunities in related fields, perhaps behind the scenes.
The glamorous, star-studded city also attracts holidaymakers in droves, and the tourism industry is one of LA's strongest.
Other major contributors to the city's economy are business services and international trade. Additionally, expats with a background in finance will find a large representation of foreign banks and corporations in the metropolis, and an intra-company transfer may in fact be the easiest way to pursue employment in LA.
Aside from opportunities in these sectors, the Los Angeles working world is becoming increasingly technology-driven with some dubbing the city the 'new Silicon Valley'. Information technology, biomedical technology and environmental technology are dominating the new economy. Expats with specialised skills in these areas are more likely to find a job in the city.
Finding a job in Los Angeles
It is recommended that potential LA residents secure a job before moving to the city. Many jobs in Los Angeles can be found on online career portals. Networking is also a fantastic way to find a job in Los Angeles, and thanks to the access afforded by social media, even expats located abroad can start seeding queries and making contacts before making the big move.
Once expats have secured a job, they will need to obtain a work permit to be legally employed in LA.
Work culture in Los Angeles
As a creative hub, the work culture in Los Angeles is fairly laid back in both attitude and dress, especially when compared to East Coast business norms. While suits are certainly not necessary, appearance is still important among the image-conscious locals and good grooming is key.
Many companies have fairly flat structures, especially in the tech industry, and employees are treated as valuable assets. Socialising after a day at the office is common. Hard work is expected, but plenty of workplace perks are offered as well. Despite this casual and open culture, a competitive atmosphere is also present among coworkers.
►Doing Business in the USA is a great resource for expat entrepreneurs in LA
Are you an expat living in Los Angeles?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Los Angeles. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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