The labour market in San Francisco

Labour Market in San Francisco
Updated 2023-10-04 09:32

San Francisco began as a boom town, sprouting up to support the gold rush, and established itself as a key West Coast port for trade and shipping. The city is now a center of global trade but also a major financial hub, as well as being famous for its technology and start-up industries. Keep reading for a breakdown of SF's biggest industries, so you can start tailoring your job applications.

San Francisco labor market at a glance

San Francisco has a large and dynamic labor market and contains one of the largest numbers of immigrants from around the globe. Moreover, the city provides a range of employment programs, including job training and development projects. However, as with many major cities, San Francisco's economy took a hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and some sectors are yet to bounce back. But overall, things look positive in the city, and in 2023, all indications are that the economy is on the upswing. In May 2023, the city's job market added 5,200 jobs, and although tourism, leisure, and hospitality were hit especially hard during the pandemic, things are slowly returning to normal.  Unfortunately, the hotel industry isn't quite back to where it should be, with occupancy rates and revenues still at 73% of pre-pandemic levels.

Popular industries in San Francisco

San Francisco is a city with many opportunities — but also tough competition. However, it's also a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates (3.2%) in the US. Plus, San Francisco remains the world's startup capital (even though some other cities in the US are gaining momentum in the area as well) — and this means that new jobs are created constantly.

Before diving into your job search in San Francisco, take the time to get acquainted with the city's most popular fields.

Business strategy

Business strategy is a dynamic landscape where innovation meets strategy. Professionals in SF learn to navigate the ever-evolving market, ensuring companies remain competitive. Roles include operational efficiency managers specializing in go-to-market strategies, information security engineers focusing on security and red team initiatives, strategic partnerships, and business development managers forging crucial alliances.


San Francisco's design scene is ideal for busy, creative minds. From crafting captivating user experiences to shaping aesthetically pleasing interfaces, this industry is full of young creatives hustling to get ahead. Roles include quantitative user experience researchers, visual designers with an eye for aesthetics, senior interaction designers who redefine user interaction paradigms, and UX writers who master the art of user-centric content creation.


San Francisco is famous for its groundbreaking tech industries. This sector welcomes software engineers specializing in imaging, front-end development, and machine learning. Sales engineers in the realm of Google Cloud play a pivotal role, as do data scientists, customer care consultants, and audio and signal processing officers. Home to major tech giants like Apple Inc., eBay, Google, and Intel, this industry offers diverse roles, such as software and web developers, network architects, system and cybersecurity analysts, computer support specialists, and data administrators. It has played a significant role in the national economy, employing millions of people and contributing substantially to GDP.

Finance and shipping

The finance and shipping sector in San Francisco offers opportunities in logistics, as well as roles for economists and quantitative revenue analysts. This industry's robust presence is a testament to the city's economic resilience and long history as a major trading and shipping hub.


The natural beauty and cultural activities available in San Francisco make it an excellent holiday destination. As we've said, things are not quite back to pre-Covid levels, but on the whole, the industry is poised for growth.

Other prominent industries

Beyond these core sectors, San Francisco boasts thriving industries in business, finance, healthcare, biochemistry, and education, offering a spectrum of career opportunities.

Pro tip:

When searching for job opportunities in San Francisco, keep an eye on popular areas like Downtown San Francisco, Bush Street, Mission Street, and Lawton Street, where the job market thrives and possibilities abound.

Useful link:

Office of the economic and workforce development (OEWD)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.