The Ultimate Guide to the Salt Lake City Job Market

If you’re moving to Salt Lake City chances are you’ve heard about our booming economy and our thriving job market. In fact, you may be moving because of a job offer. But if employment isn’t the reason behind your move you may have questions about the job market, job availability, and business opportunities. Read on to learn more about the Salt Lake City economy and how you can get a job with one of the many awesome companies in town. 

The Awards Speak for Themselves

Luckily, we have good news. When it comes to the local economy. Salt Lake City continues to rank favorably in everything from job growth to cost of living. Not only has Salt Lake City’s economic success been praised as the New Gold Standard and the Wall Street of the West, it’s also earned a spot in numerous lists such as:

Salt Lake City Jobs: A Recipe for Economic Success

A combination of factors makes the city’s economy so prosperous:

Salt Lake City Economy

Low Cost of Living

When you compare the cost of living across several metropolitan areas in the US, Salt Lake City’s affordability is one of the best. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that a family of four (two adults and two children) living in Salt Lake City would need to make around $62,003 annually for a decent, but modest, living. The same-sized family would have to make an additional $44,490 to enjoy the same comfort of living in Washington, D.C.

Cost of Living

Check out the EPI family budget calculator and personalize it to your family’s needs.

A Rise in Tech Jobs: The Birth of Silicon Slopes

Over the last decade Utah’s favorable economy and highly educated population have attracted tech businesses and produced some of the most successful startups. In fact, the Wasatch Front, which runs from Provo to Salt Lake City to Ogden, is known as Silicon Slopes, a reference to Silicon Valley in California.

In 2014 NPR revealed that the most common job in Utah was software developer—a drastic change from 2012 which saw truck driver as the most common job since 1992. But Silicon Slopes didn’t happen overnight. The Utah Science and Technology Research Initiative (USTAR) invested over $100 million in 2006 to recruit economic researchers whose ideas and findings continue to develop into companies, which has led to an influx of jobs.

Technology is growing at a faster rate than ever but the supply of graduates from local universities is still not enough to fill the demand. This means there’s a surplus of tech jobs waiting to be filled, making the Salt Lake Valley ideal for programmers and web developers.

Salt Lake City Jobs on the Rise
It’s not just tech jobs that are getting a boost. When you look at Utah’s unemployment rate it’s obvious that work opportunities are flourishing across all sectors. The unemployment rate in in Salt Lake City in December 2015 went as low as 2.8% compared to the national rate of 5%.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services estimates a job growth rate of 2.4% annually through 2020. But this isn’t a new development—Salt Lake City’s unemployment rate remained low even during the recession, proving that the economy is not only thriving but also consistent in its growth.

Unemployment Rates

Business-Friendly Laws

If you’re a business owner, or if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, Utah’s pro-business climate is sure to give you a competitive edge. Some advantages to consider:

  • a diversified economy, which means there isn’t one dominating job sector;
  • a 5% flat corporate tax rate that hasn’t risen in over a decade;
  • tax rebate incentives for companies that create jobs;
  • one-third of the workforce is bilingual with a median age of 30.5, the lowest in the U.S.

Where There’s Room for Improvement

While Salt Lake City, and Utah overall, have a lot of noteworthy accolades, we know there’s still room for improvement. Here are two major things you should know before making the leap to Salt Lake City:

It’s a Man’s World

A 2014 study by 24/7 Wall St. on the worst states for women rated Utah as #1 on the list. The study took into consideration several factors that were divided into three categories: economy, leadership, and health.

It’s important to point out that while Utah may have the fourth-worst wage gap in the nation, a variety of factors makes this a complicated statistic. Utah women graduate college at a lower rate than Utah men (29% compared to 33%) and women’s chosen work industries tend to have lower wages (office assistants, teachers, etc.). Additionally, the median age for marriage among Utah women is 24.1 as opposed to 27.1 nationally, suggesting that women in Utah are starting families at an earlier age. This could contribute to the decline in bachelor’s degree attainment.

Making the list as the #1 worst state for women is certainly not worth celebrating, but it has raised awareness for policy-makers and businesses alike. If acknowledgement is the first step to recovery, we hope this serves as a wake-up call for Utah.

Educational Spending

Although Utah has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country, it also has the lowest per-pupil spending budget for education. Of course, these numbers are affected by the low cost of living, but with the rise of STEM jobs in the state it’s more important than ever to invest in K-12 education funding.

Fortunately, legislation is in the process of increasing the education budget to keep up with the rise. The governor has proposed $130 million in new money for the 2017 education budget to increase per-student spending in addition to proposing additional funds to improve teachers’ wages and student to teacher ratios.

Companies Worth Moving For

We know we’ve talked up the economy and business industry up to this point without giving any examples. But we’re firm believers in putting our money where our mouth is, so here are some of the best companies to work for in Salt Lake County:

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O.C. Tanner has been recognized as one of the best workplaces by the Salt Lake Tribune for two years in a row. The company knows a thing or two about recognition. After all, its services focus on helping organizations and employers recognize the accomplishments of their employees.

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Instructure creates “software that makes smarter people.” It has one of the highest scores on Glassdoor (4.6 out of 5), and like most of the companies on this list, it offers great employee perks.

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Ancestry is considered the biggest commercial site for genealogical data and it’s housed right here in Utah. Its main headquarters are in Provo, Utah, but it’s expanded its offices into Salt Lake City.

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SpinGo was created to provide event makers an all-inclusive tool for planning, tickets, scheduling, and event promotion. It was named Tech Startup of the Year in 2014 by Business Wire.

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CHG Healthcare Services focuses on filling the staffing needs of hospitals and clinics across the nation. Fortune 100 has named it one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For repeatedly.

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Clearlink is a digital advertising and marketing company. They partner with major brands like Verizon, Progressive, and ADT to convert customers into sales and long-term consumers. This is a great company for recent college grads, with an awesome culture, and the recognition to prove it.

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Health Catalyst is a data warehouse that relies on analytics and outcomes used by healthcare providers to better understand the financial and medical needs of their patients.

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Experticity specializes in marketing and advertising by helping brands and companies create conversations around their products, which leads to an increase in revenue. It services range from sales training to increasing product awareness.

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Nicholas and Company is one of the largest food distribution services in the Western region. The company offers positions in everything from marketing to delivery driver.

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InMoment works with their business clients to improve the customer experience and management tools. It works with a number of industries including retail, healthcare, food service, and financial services.

Beyond SLC: Companies Outside the County

Because we know the number of awesome companies growing and hiring in Utah go beyond the Salt Lake City area, here are some of the best companies along the Wasatch Front worth considering on your job hunt:

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Pluralsight is quickly becoming an online leader in e-learning thanks to its vast library of learning videos and tutorials. It was recognized by Forbes in its list of “Most Promising Companies.”

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Jane.com is a boutique marketplace for online sellers and small shops with daily deal and sales. Its products include children’s clothing, women’s attire, and home decor.

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Domo is all about giving business executives easy access to company data and analytics in a single, simple platform. It has received over $450 million in funding, making it one of the fastest-growing business in Utah.

imaginelearning
Imagine Learning helps English language learners, struggling readers, and students with disabilities improve and accelerate their skills through their software program.

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BrainStorm Inc. calls itself “the software people’s people,” because its services specialize in providing training services for companies implementing a new program into the work process. In 2015 it  was recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Women by Fortune 100.

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Qualtrics has refined the survey process for schools, businesses, and individuals, making it easier to gather employee, student, and customer insight. It’s currently valued at more than $1 billion and counting.

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BambooHR caters to the human resource needs of small- to medium-sized businesses that need a software program to manage their employees’ information. Its customers include companies like SoundCloud and Foursquare.

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Workfront, formerly known as AtTask, is a project management software service that helps other companies guide productivity and communication among employees.

MX Logo
MX works with digital banking providers and financial institutions to make banking more manageable for account holders. It offers a variety of products that help with everything from money management to financial analytics.

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Nudge specializes in selling real-estate to real-estate services, which is a fancy way of saying it sells properties for rental. In 2014 it was listed on Inc. 500’s list of fastest-growing companies.

Big Brand Companies in Salt Lake City

Even if you’re looking to work for a company you recognize, there are a number of big brand names that have settled in the slopes of Utah. Here are a few with offices or major headquarters in Utah:

Oracle Logo
Adobe Logo
1-800 Contacts
EA Games Logo
Ebay Logo
Netflix
Goldman Sachs Logo
Overstock Logo
Skullcandy Logo

Get Hired: How to Beat Out the Competition

Gone are the days when newspaper ads were the main source for job postings. Nowadays, popular sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster help job seekers get real-time access to applications and recruiters. Of course, the process of getting hired will differ if you’re trying to interview before your move, but knowing where to begin your job search can make all the difference and even give you an edge over the competition.

Here are four places to get you started and hired:

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About Doride Uvaldo-Nelson

Doride Uvaldo-Nelson
Doridé Uvaldo-Nelson is an Arizonan writing and living out of Utah. She’s moved over ten times in the span of five years and learned something new every time. Check out her local guides on Salt Lake City living on move.org.