The work culture in San Francisco

work culture in San Francisco
Updated 2019-05-24 14:16

The thought of working in the Bay Area of San Francisco looks attractive to foreign professionals from around the world. Indeed, the city has a lot to offer to those looking for better career prospects and quality of life, but what about the local work environment. Are you prepared to take the leap of faith and thrive professionally in a new city? Here is what you need to know about the local work culture in San Francisco.

Working conditions in San Francisco

Being a very diverse and prosperous city, San Francisco can boast a very low unemployment rate, but high competition at the same time. This only means that your chance of securing a job as an expat is on the high side if you follow the right procedures. However, as an expat, there are some jobs that you can undertake according to the type of visa you have, while others are not allowed. Find more information in the article about Work visas in the USA.

Corporate life in San Francisco

It is best to divide San Francisco into different sections to get a better perception of the local work culture as a whole

Commerce and Finances

If you intend to work in the city's financial centre, you should pay attention to the West Coast. As a result of its strategic location, commercial activities like banking, shipping, etc. thrive. It is, therefore, an excellent choice for those looking for a decent job and attractive wages.

Technology and sciences

Most of the times, expats that are looking to make it big in the technology world turn their attention to the city of San Francisco since it is home to many technology giants like Twitter, YouTube, etc. As a result, many engineers, scientists, and computer geniuses stand a better chance at securing employment in San Francisco.


In 2015, tourism accounted for about 76,500 job creations in San Francisco. Tourism is one of the most significant sectors in the city and is always looking to add more people to its ranks.


Just like Wall Street, the streets of San Francisco are marked with tall buildings, law firms and many large companies where an expat can secure a prestigious and well-paying job.

The work environment in San Francisco

To get the best work experience out of San Francisco as an expat, you should turn to the Bay Area. which is popular with expats from around the world. This part of the city can boast a great diversity and quality of life, not to mention the level of education provided by its schools, colleges and other institutions.

Another thing that is peculiar to the local work environment is the highly qualified workforce. Overall, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is at 2.5% which is the lowest in the entire USA

How to dress for work in San Francisco

The professional dress code is usually determined by the type of position you are looking to occupy. In general, there are formal and casual dress codes for both male and female professionals. If you are occupying a high position or are an executive or manager, you are expected to be dressed formally most of the time. This might require you to wear a suit or a pantsuit, buttoned-up shirts, heels or oxfords, and have well-trimmed nails. Also, make sure to ask the HR manager whether accessories and long hair (for men, especially) are acceptable. For other positions, the dress code is quite flexible, keeping in mind the impact of colours, patterns, as well as the use of accessories, however.

While San Francisco has a lot to offer to expats, it's important to check with the HR department what is acceptable or not in terms of dress code, habits and good conduct. Corporette is a website where you can get an idea of how to dress for work in different US cities.

The labour code

In July 2018, the minimum wage for the San Francisco workforce was fixed at $15.00 for every employee who works for at least two hours weekly.

Each employee, whether they are occupying a temporary or part-time position, is entitled to sick leave.

Breastfeeding mothers are allowed to leave the office earlier or take breaks.

According to the labour code, employers are not allowed to ask expats about their previous salary or to make their current salaries known to the public.

Both locals and expats are entitled to the same benefits and rights within an organization.

Useful link:

San Francisco Employment Laws

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.