America’s finest city, San Diego, is expected to experience stable job growth for the next few decades, especially with the emergence of high-tech companies, meaning new arrivals seeking work in San Diego will have access to many job opportunities. The presence of the United States Navy and increased foreign trade further contribute to the city’s growing economy.
San Diego’s economy is significantly influenced by its deepwater port and position along the US-Mexico border. 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 significant 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 well as the Marine Corps. As a result, the military industry is one of the city’s most significant sectors and among its largest employers.
Other leading 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
Newcomers seeking work in San Diego can get an idea of the job market by browsing popular online job portals such as Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Highly skilled new arrivals may benefit from getting in touch with recruitment agencies to scope out opportunities and negotiate important terms such as work conditions and employment packages. Once in the city, networking can be extremely beneficial to getting a foot in the door.
- Newcomers to the city can visit the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s website, which consolidates work opportunities across the government, military and healthcare centres, among others.
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 downtime. This, coupled with the great lifestyle and weather and the reasonable cost of living, 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
What do expats say about working in San Diego?
"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.
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