Job Searching in Los Angeles: The Popular Jobs and Companies Edition by Sydney Frazer

When you think about Los Angeles, you probably think about the iconic Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and the beach. You probably don’t think about it in terms of its thriving local economy and labor market. But you should!

Los Angeles has the second largest economy in the United States. So what does this look like for the Los Angeles labor market? For starters, the LA unemployment rate is right on par with the national average at 4.7 percent as of December 2016. In addition, there are 91,415 open jobs in the area and a population growing faster than the national average. This means a high cost of living, similar to the rest of California. The cost of living in LA is most greatly affected by the housing prices. However, the median base salary reflects this by standing above the average salary in the United States. These basics give us a broad picture of what the economy and employment look like in LA. In order to clarify even further, we can take a look at some popular jobs and companies in the area.

3 Popular Job Searches in Los Angeles

  1. One popular job search in Los Angeles is Photographer. Photographer positions in LA are abundant, with 463 open positions at the moment. Photographers in the area make an average salary of $30,210, which is below the median base salary in LA, but considerably above the national average for the position. A typical interview for a photographer will focus on your portfolio and your ability to share your opinion about someone else’s work. Prepare for your interview with common questions:
    • Walk me through your shooting process from start to finish at your last position.
    • Are you comfortable giving orders to complete strangers?
    • Tell me about a time when you stayed calm while dealing with a disgruntled customer.
  2. Given the movie industry in LA, it is unsurprising that Production Assistant is another common job search for the area. There are 4,859 open PA jobs with media giants ranging from MTV2 to ABC to Discovery Channel. PA positions in LA command an average salary of $29,060. While this is a pretty low salary for the area, it is understandable given the entry-level nature of the role — and there is room to move up in the industry. If you land an interview, be prepared to show you are comfortable with the position of a PA in relation to the rest of the crew (AKA being the bottom of the food chain), are ready to work hard, and are reliable. Consider practicing for your interview with these questions:
    • What editing software are you familiar with?
    • What are some current news headlines you are following right now?
    • What technical skills do you have that would allow you to excel at this position?
  3. Graphic Designer is another popular job search in the area. With 1,608 open jobs, job seekers have the ability to find a position that is the perfect fit. Graphic designers in LA can expect to earn an average salary of $51,302, which is right on par with the national average for graphic designers and very close to the median base salary in LA. In the interview, be ready to discuss your portfolio and how your previous work shows you can jive with the company’s current design style. Get ready for your interview with questions like these:
    • How would you redesign our current website?
    • What type of design work have you done in the past?
    • How do you approach a project in which you aren’t the driving creative force behind it?

These jobs might not be the right fit for you. The good news is, a few popular companies in the area are also hiring for a wide variety of positions that might just match your expertise.

3 Popular Companies in Los Angeles

  1. With over 42,000 employees, UCLA is one of the region’s five largest employers and contributes 12.7 billion dollars to the economy. Employees seem to be pretty happy there; UCLA has a 4.1 star rating on Glassdoor, far above the average of 3.3. Furthermore, Chancellor Gene D. Block has a high approval rating of 83 percent. Convinced to try to snag a job there? There are currently 337 openings. If you wind up with an offer, UCLA benefits include your choice of a variety of health care plans that are comprehensive and boast high quality providers, a generous pension plan, and reduced tuition.
  2. UCLA’s rival, University of Southern California, is another popular place to work in the region. With a workforce of over 26,000 and an economic impact of eight billion dollars, USC is a major employer. President C. L. Max Nikias has an extremely high approval rating of 90 percent and USC has a 4.3 star rating on Glassdoor. Interested in joining the happy team at this prestigious university? Apply for one of their 1,800 open positions. Expect a healthy benefits package that includes great health, dental, and vision plans (Do you prefer a PPO over an HMO? It is your choice!), employee discounts on- and off-campus, and a 401k plan in which USC automatically contributes five percent of compensation and then matches up to another five percent on top of that.
  3. Interested in a sector other than education? Deloitte, while headquartered in New York, has an office in Los Angeles. Deloitte has a 3.8 star rating on Glassdoor. Even more impressive, Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert was named a Highest Rated CEO in both 2014 and, more recently, 2016. Deloitte has 823 open jobs, with 18 positions available in Los Angeles. If you land a job, benefits include a generous allotment of PTO and vacation, great professional development opportunities like Deloitte University, and help with fitness-related expenses.


If these jobs or companies are not what you are looking for, that is okay! Los Angeles is known as a place of great opportunity, which means you don’t have to settle. Several multinationals have job openings in Los Angeles including lululemon, Topshop, and Rio Tinto, and sectors like manufacturing, business services, and transportation are some of the largest. Keep searching and know that you will be able to find an opportunity that is a good fit.

As a Partnerships Manager at Glassdoor, Sydney works with hundreds of accounts across universities, libraries, and blogs, helping to provide them with content and tools to aid job seekers. Outside of work, Sydney enjoys running, hiking, and searching for the perfect burrito.