The capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States, Richmond has long been a hub for commerce. Its strategic location on the James River along with its Great Turning Basin for boats, its triple crossing of rail lines (the world's only), and the intersection of two major interstates mean that the Virginian capital has a long and thriving commercial history, and an economy that continues to flourish and attract droves of new residents every year.
Americans from elsewhere in the US as well as foreigners are increasingly electing to base themselves in Richmond for its diverse and robust economy, plentiful commercial opportunities, good housing market and relaxed lifestyle.
Apart from the six Fortune 500 companies that call Richmond home, the city has several other large employers that continue to entice young professionals into a move to the Virginia capital.
Job market in Richmond
Primarily driven by finance, law, advertising and government, Richmond's economy is stable and employs an enormous workforce across these and other sectors.
The city is home to two US Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (one of 12 in the country). Four of the largest law firms in the US are based in Richmond, including Hunton & Williams, McGuireWoods, Williams Mullen and LeClairRyan. Its Fortune 500 companies include Dominion Resources, CarMax, Owens & Minor, Genworth Financial, MeadWestvaco/WestRock and Altria Group.
The city is also something of an advertising mecca and home to several large advertising agencies (including The Martin Agency) and other advertising-related businesses. New arrivals with qualifications in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries would be pleased to know that Richmond has several employers in these fields too, many of them based at the continually developing Virginia BioTechnology Research Park in Richmond.
The city's tourism sector is also growing steadily, and Richmond's food scene is considered one of the most underrated in the country, not to mention its multitude of acclaimed craft breweries and distilleries. Even Richmond's film and television industry is on the up and employing a large number of residents with several high-profile films shot in the city over the last few years.
Entrepreneurs and business people thinking of relocating to Richmond will be glad to hear that the city is considered one of the most 'business friendly' in the US, with low corporate tax rates, no tax rates on manufacturer inventory, and credits and abatements for job creation and development in impoverished areas.
Finding a job in Richmond
It's always better, when relocating, to secure employment before the move. Many professionals move to Richmond as part of a transfer through their company, but those who arrive in the city without a job offer in hand will do well to scour online job portals, social-networking sites such as LinkedIn and individual company websites in their fields.
Recruitment agents are also a good option. These professionals will have unique insights in the job seeker's specific industry and are well placed to link up qualified candidates with employers.
Networking is another viable avenue to make business connections and get some insider tips on local industries and the local job market. It's also a good way for new arrivals to make friends and establish themselves in their new community.
Work culture in Richmond
Richmond's economy is a hive of activity with a well-educated workforce employed across a healthy variety of industries. That said, the city's 'rat race' isn't nearly as frantic or cut-throat as that of major US cities such as New York, Washington DC or LA. People are career driven in Richmond – and are well paid – but the work-life balance is much healthier here and the pace far more relaxed.
Richmond, like many other prominent US commercial hubs, thrives because of a willingness to accept new ideas and nurture budding entrepreneurs. Business culture is individualistic, and the workplace rewards 'go-getters' while those who lack independence, initiative and self-reliance lag behind. Status and age are largely obsolete and, instead, merit, good ideas and hard work are the vehicles for advancement.
►Read more about the city's best neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs of Richmond
Are you an expat living in Richmond?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Richmond. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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