With the city expected to experience stable job growth for the next few decades, especially with the emergence of high-tech companies, the presence of the United States Navy and increased foreign trade, expats looking for work in San Diego should have many opportunities for employment.
San Diego's economy is significantly influenced by its position along the US-Mexico border and its deepwater port. It is also known for its strong economy, educational institutions and educated workforce.
Job market in San Diego
Sharing a border with Mexico and hosting one of the world’s busiest border crossing points, international trade plays a major role in the local economy of San Diego.
In addition, San Diego’s coastal geography forms the foundation of a long association between the city and the US Navy. As a result, the military industry is one of the city’s biggest sectors and among its largest employers.
Other major industries include healthcare, biotechnology, research, tourism and pharmaceuticals. The unique mix of high-tech industries, recreational options and the standard of education in San Diego has gained the city a reputation for being one of the country’s best climates for technological development.
Finding a job in San Diego
Expats in search of work in San Diego can get an idea of the job market by browsing online job portals. Getting in touch with recruitment agencies can also be a good way to scope out opportunities. Once in the city, networking can be extremely helpful when it comes to getting a foot in the door.
Work culture in San Diego
San Diego, at a glance, may seem like a laid-back beach town populated by surfers and suburban families soaking up the sun and living fairly relaxed lives. The reality is that the city has a rather vibrant economy with hard-working residents thriving in various booming sectors.
The city has low unemployment rates, and most large employers ensure that employees are generally happy by affording them generous benefits and plenty of down time. This, coupled with the great weather, reasonable cost of living and sheer amount of things to do, makes the San Diego workforce one of the happiest in the US.
Newcomers working in San Diego will find that companies put a real emphasis on investing in their employees in terms of incentives, education and training, which in turn limits turnover and a healthy company culture.
►For more on work culture, see Working in the USA
"Getting a work permit is relatively easy, once all the paperwork is right. It is a process that can take months. Have patience, do your due diligence and research; the governmental systems are very effective."
Read more about the experiences of Quinne, a South African expat who lived in San Diego for many years.
Are you an expat living in San Diego?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to San Diego. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global can tailor an international health insurance plan to perfectly fit the needs of you and your family. With 86 million customers in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
William Russell is a boutique insurance company, that values itself on its great customer service and is underwritten by Allianz. They provide health, life, and income protection insurance for expats around the world. With a global network of 40,000 hospitals and doctors, their health insurance plans are designed so that they follow you to whatever country you move to next.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.