On the Clock

The Big Apple's Job Bonanza

The city is becoming an East Coast tech hub, helping unemployment reach three-decade lows.

If there’s one expectation in New York City’s job market, it’s constant change. 

Roy Cohen, a career coach in New York City, has been hearing a similar version of the same story lately from much of his Wall Street professional client base: they fear their roles are growing obsolete and need to find their next opportunity.

The answer for many has come in the form of fintech. “Unless they want to hold onto legacy activity,” says Cohen, “a good number of them have crossed over.” 

New York City accounts for 5% of the entire nation’s job growth since 2009.

While the Bay Area is reputed to be the nation’s technology capital, an increasing number of financial services, technology, and venture capital firms are looking within New York City. Amazon announced in November that it selected Long Island City, a part of Queens, to open one of two new headquarters, and both Google and Facebook now employ thousands of professionals in the five boroughs.

Of course, while shifts in labor markets are nothing new for the Big Apple, which has seen a tremendous amount of growth over the past eight years, the numbers still are illuminating: New York City is experiencing the highest rate of growth since after the post-World War II economic expansion. The city accounts for 5% of the entire nation’s job growth since 2009, despite holding only 3% of jobs nationally. Essentially, it’s a good time to look in the Empire City.

The healthcare sector ranks first.

The number of healthcare jobs has grown every year since 1990, but last year the sector saw the greatest growth among all industries. Why? The passing of the Affordable Care Act improved health insurance access in the state, and led to a flurry of people looking for preventative care. That created new organizations, outside of hospital settings, that provide preventative care (think blood-pressure screenings and obesity checks), while other healthcare technology start-ups blossomed to better handle the influx of new patients.

The start-up scene is on fire.

Move over, Silicon Valley. New York’s venture capital investments grew more than 20% in the last year, impacting a full spectrum of sectors. Career pros say a robust talent pool and a digital-first shift that’s happening in nearly every industry have helped make NYC a burgeoning tech hub. And while many start-ups in New York City have typically been sold to larger firms, that’s slowly changing, with many becoming household names (eyeglasses company Warby Parker and wedding registry firm Zola are NYC start-ups, for example) or venturing to IPO on their own.

Look for breaks in Brooklyn.

The borough with the most prospects isn’t smack-dab in the middle. Instead, it’s Brooklyn, which reported the fastest rate of growth in private sector jobs since 2009, jumping 40%. What’s more, Manhattan also lagged behind Queens in the rate of job growth over the past eight years—and that’s before Amazon’s pipeline of jobs is thrown into the mix.

Expect hefty paychecks.

Sure, it’s an expensive city to live in. But the paychecks are higher, too. Overall, NYC wages are 25% higher than the rest of the nation. Need proof? The second-largest driver of job growth in 2017—business service roles like accountants, lawyers, and programmers—paid average annual salaries of $109,000. That’s 27% higher than the overall city salary.

If you’re considering a move to a different sector that may pay less, look to a pay structure that could earn you closer to your previous mark by asking if it comes with equity or higher commissions. And if that doesn’t work, at least know you can sit back and commiserate with all the other NYC residents by echoing this mantra: the rent is too damn high!

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