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San Diego, California Employment: Top 10 fastest-growing jobs/available career fields and companies in San Diego County

Updated on September 28, 2010

San Diego can be a very expensive city - and county - to live in (I should know, as I've spent most of my life in the San Diego area), and when the recession hit, San Diego was hit just as hard as the rest of California, as the unemployment rate rose from a most 4.9 percent in April 2008, to 11.1 percent in January 2010. Many jobs were lost, and jobseekers who were previously unemployed, or who were trying to move up the ladder of the workforce, found it increasingly difficult - sometimes nearly impossible - to get hired anywhere. In fact, this dilemma is a big contributor to the fact that I'm living where I am today, doing what I am doing now, instead of still being back home. 

But the job market is slowly, but surely, starting to make a comeback, with unemployment dropping to 10 percent in the city of San Diego by September 2010, and continuing the positive trend, looking to drop below 10 percent any day now. In fact, many career fields are experiencing a massive hiring surge in San Diego, and many career fields which had previously been blitzed by the recession, are starting to come back with a driving force.

San Diego's unemployment rate
San Diego's unemployment rate

Fastest growing career fields in San Diego

According to Monster and Yahoo Hotjobs, these are the fastest growing jobs in San Diego.

Medical and biotech jobs: Medical jobs are notorious for being very safe careers, careers which are much more immune to economic ups and downs than others, as everyone needs health care, no matter what the economy is like. Right now, there is a very large amount of competition for medical jobs, but there is also a wealth of medical jobs available in San Diego. Top employers with available positions include Kaiser Permanente, Palomar Pomerado Health, and Scripps Health.

San Diego is quite possibly America's top hub of biotechnology, and as of right now, biotech jobs are very plentiful in the area. Biotech, pharmaceutical and medical jobs in general make up one of the 2 fastest-growing conglomerates of open jobs in the San Diego area, including North County, East County, and other areas outside of the city limits but inside the county.

Sales and retail jobs: Yes, I know these cover a wide range of incomes, experiences and careers, but both of these job areas are growing very quickly, and as of right now, these two combined career fields make up the fastest-growing sector in San Diego. These fields are notorious for being affected by the recession, because they more than almost anything depend on customer confidence and a willingness to spend money.

Retail jobs combine with customer service jobs to make a very rapidly-growing career field. The best part for unskilled jobseekers is, usually neither of these career fields require college degrees.

Engineering, Computers and Technology: This trio rounds out the trifecta of rapid growth in the San Diego area. San Diego is a hub of technology and jobs in the telecommunications, programming, engineering and IT fields will always be rapid growers here. If you're looking for a job or career in one of these three fields, San Diego might just be the place you want to be.


Unfortunately, there are certain career fields in the San Diego area that have not fully recovered. Construction, in particular, is absolutely in the tank. What has been a recession for everyone else has been a depression for construction jobs, as job ads are few and far between. Manufacturing is making a slow recovery but right now, it's not one of San Diego's top career fields.

What are the best cities for job hunting in the San Diego area?

Obviously the city of San Diego is going to have the most jobs, as it's the largest city in the county, and an almost uncountable number of businesses are headquartered in San Diego. On Miramar Road alone, there seems to be an endless line of business after business, hundreds if not thousands of businesses.

But what are the best suburbs to hunt for jobs in? Right now, Escondido and Carlsbad are, by far, at the top of the list. These two North County business centers are currently the hottest cities in the county when it comes to finding work. San Marcos comes in a close third, as despite its smaller physical area, jobs are growing fairly quickly. Oceanside gets an honorable mention. North County complete dominates this list.

What are the worst suburbs to job hunt in? Almost anywhere in South County and East County. National City, La Mesa and El Cajon are absolutely awful cities for jobhunting. Chula Vista is not quite as bad as those three cities are - it is currently the best location in South county to hunt for jobs -  but it's not good either. Some North County cities, such as Encinitas, Poway and Vista, make the low list, as does coastal Coronado. 

What education level do most available jobs require?

Right now, the majority of available jobs in San Diego County require a bachelor's degree - to the tune of over 60 percent of available jobs. However, the second biggest category of jobs that are currently available, or recently have been available, are jobs that only require a high-school education or equivalent. All other degrees, as well as jobs that require "some college" or a certification, are very low on the list of available jobs right now.

What experience do most of the current available jobs require?

Currently, Monster's largest category by far are jobs that require 2 to 5 years of experience. Jobs require 5 to 7 years, or 1 to 2 years, combine to serve as the runner up, while jobs that require 0 to 1 year of experience have paltry numbers.

Hotjobs, on the other hand, shows 0-1 year experience as its highest category. 5-7 years of experience is the second highest category, and 2-5 years of experience comes in third place.


Currently, by far the most common job being offered, at around 90% of available jobs, are full-time jobs. Temporary jobs come in a very distant second, with part time and per diem jobs rounding out the lowest categories.

Hope that helps your San Diego and San Diego County job hunting! If you have more San Diego-related job hunting tips, feel free to post them!

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    • sandiegoseoexpert profile image

      sandiegoseoexpert 

      7 years ago

      The best job markets in San Diego right now are tech and marketing from what I see out there.

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