Here, we look at just a few of the financial reasons that make the metro area so attractive to so many. read more
Recently, WalletHub released its list of 2023’s best cities for jobs. Atlanta —unsurprisingly—ranked among the top 25 cities on the nationwide list, placing it in the top 15 percent of cities across the country. Atlanta’s recognition was attributed to everything from the wide range of job opportunities available in the metro area to the impressive rate of employment growth to the considerable monthly average starting salary. In fact, in terms of the number of job opportunities alone, Atlanta ranked number three in the country; according to the Georgia Department of Labor, metro Atlanta added 126,400 jobs in 2022 and helped the unemployment rate dip to an historic low. That trend has extended into 2023, as the local job market continues to thrive.
Here, KNOWAtlanta takes an in depth look at the two key factors that have played the most significant role in making the local job market what it is today: the job creators and the job seekers. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect career fit or you are with a company that’s looking for the best candidates around, read on for the answers to all of your questions about the people and the businesses on the scene today.
The Job Creators
There are no jobs without a welcoming business community that is home to flourishing businesses and ever-evolving industry sectors. In addition to Georgia being named the number one place to do business for nine years in a row, metro Atlanta’s business climate is ideal for business and industry, paving the way for myriad job opportunities to be generated at all levels. Here’s what you need to know about the job creators in the area.
1. Which industries are most drawn to metro Atlanta?
According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, there are several key industry segments that stand out in the metro area: supply chain and advanced manufacturing, thanks to Atlanta’s recognition as one of the major transportation hubs in the country serving the Southeast; creative industries, such as film and art; technology, with Atlanta becoming one of the fastest-growing high-tech urban centers in the nation; life sciences and healthcare, anchored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and cleantech, which focuses on sectors like electric vehicles, battery tech and solar energy.
2. What kinds of companies comprise the local business community?
Atlanta is home to companies large and small representing some of the world’s most renowned brands as well as today’s innovative startups. As noted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, 31 Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in the metro area, while more than 200 Inc. 5000 startups are located throughout the city and its surrounding areas. Distinguished names like Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, UPS and The Coca-Cola Company, among many others, have been part of Atlanta’s business community for many years. And when it comes to startups, Atlanta Tech Village, recognized as the country’s fourth largest tech hub, reveals that it houses more than 300 startups, which, over the last decade, have been responsible for creating 6,500 jobs across the area.
3. Which companies are metro Atlanta’s top employers?
The top five employers in the area are some of the biggest global names: Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Emory University and Emory Healthcare; The Home Depot; Northside Hospital; and Piedmont Healthcare.
4. What kinds of jobs are available in the metro area today?
The jobs available throughout the metro Atlanta area are as varied as the companies that create them. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the private sector includes opportunities in everything from professional and business services and leisure and hospitality to education and health services and manufacturing. As Construction Coverage Magazine noted, 20.2 percent of the Atlanta workforce held mechanically inclined jobs in 2022, with freight, stock and material movers among the most common opportunities. What’s more, Cushman & Wakefield reports that Atlanta overall saw 22.8 percent job growth in a two-year period with each industry sector in the city expanding; the most growth was seen in leisure and hospitality (80.2 percent), information (39.4 percent) and trade, transportation and utilities (23.5 percent). WorkSource Atlanta notes that the most in-demand jobs cover a range of industry segments, with positions like advertising sales agents, paralegals, carpenters, electricians, aircraft mechanics technicians, business operations specialists, dental hygienists, registered nurses, chefs and firefighters among the most coveted professional opportunities. And when it comes to information technology, tech-savvy candidates are needed to fill a wide variety of positions, from data scientist and data engineer to UX designer and solutions architect, as noted by LinkedIn.
5. What are some of the newest opportunities in metro Atlanta?
The film industry has become one of the area’s fastest-growing sectors in recent years, with Atlanta often being referred to as the Hollywood of the South. In fact, in 2022, the State of Georgia received more than $4.4 billion in direct spending from film productions, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Thousands of jobs have been created in this sector alone, with an array of crew and staff jobs opening up regularly. And with the metro area now being home to more than three million square feet of sound stages for film and television production, with the number expected to more than double by 2024, there are many more opportunities coming down the pike.
6. Where are most of the job opportunities found in the metro area?
Three locations inside the perimeter are key business centers: Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. The downtown area is home to an array of global companies, such as Delta Air Lines and The Coca-Cola Company. Midtown, which boasts a 1.2-square-mile business district, boasts 15.5 million square feet of Class A office space and is home to 65,000 jobs, according to the Midtown Alliance; it also has eight of the 10 largest law firms in the city, as well as a host of tech startups and some of the most renowned academic and research institutions, including the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University Hospital Midtown. Buckhead is known for housing a wide variety of technology, commercial real estate and finance organizations and is known as Atlanta’s premier business district. Outside of the perimeter, locales like the City of Alpharetta, which has been recognized as the “Technology City of the South,” as well as counties like Cobb and Gwinnett, are helping to broaden metro Atlanta’s business reach and provide even more career opportunities.
The Job Seekers
Great job opportunities need great job candidates, and metro Atlanta undoubtedly has both. When it comes to the latter, people of all ages are finding that the Atlanta area is an excellent location for starting, upgrading or even changing their careers—and they come with impressive credentials. Here’s a glimpse at metro Atlanta’s impressive job seekers.
1. Who comprises Atlanta’s workforce?
HIS Markit reports that, as of 2022, the regional workforce in metro Atlanta totaled approximately 3.2 individuals. While there are employees of all ages across a wide range of industries, a large portion of local residents—and those seeking jobs today—are young professionals; in fact, the Midtown Alliance reveals that 50 percent of Midtown Atlanta’s residents are Millennials or Gen Xers. Nearly half of Buckhead’s residents are between the ages of 25 and 54. Fortunately, Rent.com names Atlanta as the number eight city for young professionals, and CNBC ranks it as the number nine city for recent college graduates.
2. Is metro Atlanta’s workforce ready to take on a wide variety of jobs?
Metro Atlanta is known for its highly educated and skilled talent pool. To start, the Atlanta region is home to more than 275,000 college and university students, who attend some of the most prestigious institutions in the country, including six top ranked Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In fact, as the Metro Atlanta Chamber notes, the metro area is home to 57 colleges and universities with more than 600 programs, and the Technical College System of Georgia has a 99 percent job placement rate. The Midtown Alliance reveals that, in Midtown Atlanta alone, more than 68 percent of local residents hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, the Brookings Institute reports that the metro area has a 73 percent college graduate retention rate, which illustrates how many people want to remain in Atlanta’s workforce once they complete their education. What’s more, apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs are welcomed by students who want to prepare themselves for high-demand careers throughout the area.
3. Are long-time local residents the largest percentage of job seekers in Atlanta?
With a burgeoning population that’s expected to grow to more than eight million people by 2040, the metro Atlanta region sees both homegrown job seekers and those relocating from other metro areas. In fact, a recent article on Stacker.com noted that a number of popular cities are feeding the growing workforce in metro Atlanta, with job seekers coming from locales like Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City, New York; Miami, Florida; and Dallas, Texas, among other metro areas.
4. What is the average annual salary in Atlanta?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary in Atlanta is just over $70,800. Of course, the type of job one accepts can make a significant difference when it comes to income. In the metro area, some of the highest paying jobs include hospitalists (between $227,000 and $309,000 per year), owner operators (as high as $247,000 annually), dump truck owner operators (up to $200,000 per year) and nurse practitioners (between $94,000 and $125,000 on average). According to Glassdoor, tech-based salaries average $53,000 annually, depending on the job itself.
5. What else are job seekers looking for in metro Atlanta?
In addition to excellent career opportunities, today’s job seekers are looking for an outstanding quality of life. Fortunately, metro Atlanta offers just that, with U.S. News ranking the area as one of the top 100 best places to live in the United States (coming in at number 95). The cost of living is reasonable compared to other large metropolitan cities; for example, the cost of living in Atlanta is 44 percent lower than that of New York City and nearly 29 percent lower than Los Angeles. Additionally, Atlanta offers access to an array of cultural offerings, dining establishments, recreational opportunities, housing options and more.
6. Is metro Atlanta a good location for entrepreneurs?
For those job seekers who are ready to take the leap and start their own businesses (and become job creators), there’s no better locale than metro Atlanta. To start, Atlanta is recognized as a hub for startups, particularly in the technology sector, and CNBC has noted that more than a dozen companies based in Atlanta have grown to valuations of more than $1 billion over the last decade. And with organizations like Atlanta Tech Village having goals like creating 10,000 jobs in its first 10 years, there are many more jobs on the horizon for job seekers in the ATL.
Georgia Business by the Numbers
In many ways, the growth of metro Atlanta’s outstanding job market can be attributed to the business climate that has been fostered across the entire State of Georgia. Here are some of the rankings that set the state apart:
• #1 state for a work from home living environment (WalletHub)
• #1 state in the South Atlantic Region for total capital investment projects (Site Selection Magazine)
• #2 state for business incentive programs (Area Development Magazine)
• #2 most competitive state for economic development (Site Selection Magazine)
• #4 state for customized workforce training (Business Facilities Magazine)
• #5 state for Internet access (USA News)
• #6 state for best business climate (Business Facilities Magazine)
• #10 state for long-term fiscal stability (USA News)
Metro Atlanta’s Colleges and Universities
The talent coming out of the metro area’s many colleges and universities is unparalleled. And each school specializes in offering something unique to the students who choose to pursue higher education in Atlanta. Here are just a few of the local standouts: