Working in the District of Columbia

Working in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia is a desirable location for many job seekers around the world. Washington is the global center for government and politics, international trade, and tourism.

The average salary for District of Columbia employees in 3rd quarter of 2011 was $79,404. The average salary in the U.S. is $47,600. The significantly, above-average wage is due to several factors that relate to the District being the nation's capital.

The education, previous experience and narrow skill set requirements needed for many atypical positions found in this leading global city is thought to be a source of such a large discrepancy. In addition, the number of professional positions filled by non-residents in relation to the non-skilled or uneducated resident population that make up a large portion of the unemployment rate is likely a skewed 8.3%. Many neighborhoods have a 25% unemployment rate as non-residents are in positions that residents are qualified for or could be trained to hold.

There are 739,000 non-farm jobs in the District. It is not surprising that the government tops the list of employers. According to a survey, the federal government employs over 200,000 while state and local governments contribute over a quarter of a million jobs.

Professional business and technical services account for the majority of non-public, non-farm employees. Health care and social assistance occupations are the next most populated.

Besides the federal and local civil servants, major employers in the area with the most vacancies follow the pattern of the sectors presently employing the largest amount of workers. These include General Dynamics Information Technology, Children's National Medical Center, ManTech International Corporation, Providence Hospital, and The George Washington University.

It is estimated that up until 2018, occupations with the greatest probable expansion will be public relations, accountants/auditors, and building maintenance personnel such as janitors and security guards.

Employment in the District is very competitive. The city and surrounding states are one of the most populous regions in the country with the workforce possessing some form of higher learning.

The nature of the professional vacancies, given the global reach and impact many of the companies doing business in Washington encompass, makes experience one of the first characteristics employers assess. Not only is longevity a factor, but tenure in positions with top-level security clearance, acute cultural proficiency, and other factors with very narrow variables makes finding the perfect fit difficult but imperative.

Over half of the advertised job openings required two to five years of experience. The second most common requirement was one to two years with almost 40 percent requiring some on-the-job familiarity.

However, Washington is an exceptional place to consider working if one is well-versed in a rare language. Multilingual personnel are welcome in any position or sector. From large corporations to government to journalism, translation and verbal communication abilities are in high demand and well-paid.

The large number of white-collar professionals reflects in Washington's above-average request for college educated candidates. Of the online job openings advertised, over 63% require a higher-education minimum of a bachelor degree. An applicant with a high school diploma or equivalent was requested by 15% of employers.

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