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Washington DC has a strong economy, bolstered by federal operations based in the city which account for as much as 25 percent of the city's employees. However, because only US citizens can take up government jobs, expats will need to look to other industries if they wish to take up employment in Washington DC. Luckily, there are other options, with sectors such as tourism and service also making up a significant part of the city's economy.
Job market in Washington DC
Though the largest employer in Washington DC is the US government, there are also several top area industries closely related to, but not actually part of, the government. This opens up potential jobs for expats in sectors such as defence contracting, lobbying, non-profit organisations and publishing. In addition, many expats work closely with governmental agencies and are employed by overseas companies or foreign governments.
Professional and business services are increasingly joining the federal government as top employers in Washington DC, with important sectors being scientific research, finance, healthcare and education.
Finding a job in Washington DC
Online portals are a good way to find a job in Washington DC as most major employers advertise vacant positions online, either on their own websites or through recruitment agencies. But above all else, networking is probably the most important aspect of a job search in DC. In a city of politicians and lobbyists, it’s often who one knows, rather than what they know, that will go a long way to securing that dream job.
It's worth noting that the cost of living in DC is one of the highest in the US and wages should be adjusted to compensate relocated expats.
All expats working in Washington DC must have a valid work permit for the USA.
Are you an expat living in Washington DC?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Washington DC. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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