It may come as surprise to some that, despite the arid desert climate of Phoenix, the city’s economy was primarily built on agriculture and natural resources. Since the mid-20th century, though, industry in Phoenix has diversified rather dramatically.
Today, the biggest drivers behind Phoenix’s economy are healthcare, technology and energy, while aviation, manufacturing and digital media are also major players. Intel, one of the area's prominent employers, has its second-largest operation based in Phoenix employing around 12,000 staff. U-Haul International, a major moving company, and the regional airline Mesa Air Group both have their headquarters in Phoenix, while American Express also bases all of their digital operations in the city.
In addition, the city is home to a handful of Fortune 500 companies including electronics corporation Avnet, mining company Freeport McMoRan and waste management company Republic Services.
Job market in Phoenix
Industrious newcomers will have no problem finding employment in Phoenix. The city’s economy is on an upward trajectory and job growth has been fairly consistent over the last few years. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona is leading the country in fostering job growth.
While the unemployment rate in Phoenix is slightly higher than the national average for the USA, there has been a substantial improvement in recent years. The state government has also taken measures to stimulate economic momentum throughout Arizona, and as the state capital, Phoenix has benefited tremendously. Eliminating red tape, improving tax regulations to become more business friendly, and recognition of out-of-state occupational licences have all served to create new job opportunities in the city.
New arrivals with a strong academic background and experience in areas such as healthcare, technology, education and finance will do particularly well in Phoenix. There are also opportunities to be had in the fields of sales, office support and transportation. Tourism in Phoenix has also flourished in recent years, so this is another good area to find work.
Work culture in Phoenix
Naturally, work culture differs from one company to another. With the influx of modern technology companies and digital media enterprises, many employers in Phoenix offer their employees certain perks to allow them to strike a healthier work-life balance and generally become more productive workers. Policies such as flexible working hours, working from home and job sharing are now commonplace in Phoenix.
The general working environment in Phoenix is said to be less cut-throat and competitive than in other prominent economic hubs such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, and employees in Phoenix report experiencing relatively high levels of job satisfaction as well as job security. Many companies across industries such as health, education and technology also offer their workers educational support and opportunities for career progression, both of which are important factors in terms of staff retention. While salaries in Phoenix may be slightly less than the national average for the USA, this seems to be a fairly minor trade-off with regard to the other lifestyle benefits awarded to workers.
On the whole, Phoenix is a great place for those starting out in their careers and people looking to take a step back and enjoy a better work-life balance that affords them more quality time with family. It is also a great place to be an entrepreneur thanks to all the city’s business-friendly incentives.
►For more on monthly expenses Phoenix residents are likely to incur, check out our Cost of Living in Phoenix page
Are you an expat living in Phoenix?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Phoenix. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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