Working in Virginia

Working in Virginia

Virginia's labor market is somewhat of a dichotomy. Northern Virginia is considered to be part of the Washington, D.C. suburbs and the employment picture compared with that of Southern Virginia is vastly different. The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) recently opened a new office in Richmond to reflect a truer picture of the southeast markets.


The unemployment rate in the Richmond Metropolitan area was reported to be at 6.0 with the overall state calculated at a lower than the national average rate of 5.4 %

The average yearly wage for those working in Richmond is roughly $47,000 which is less than Virginia's overall typical salary of $52,000. Because of Northern Virginia's proximity to Washington, D.C., the average wage in that area is over $69,000 and factors into Virginia's above-average pay compared to the nation's average of $38,000.

There is currently high demand for retail salespersons, health care workers, and computer programmers. Management and computer analysts are the occupations predicted to be the growth leaders through 2018.

Eighty-eight percent of non-farm workers in Richmond are employed by private companies. The major employers in the Richmond area with available job openings are Capital One, Food Lion, Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU Health System, and McDonald's Corporation.

Of the available vacancies, 43% require at least a bachelor's degree while 30 percent desire candidates with a high school diploma or an equivalent general education development (GED) certificate. The advertised job openings would like applicants to have 2-5 years of work experience.

The pool of individuals looking for work in Richmond has a work history spanning over ten years with most having graduated from high school or completed the GED program.

Norfolk--Virginia Beach

Norfolk is the most populated city in Virginia followed by Virginia Beach. Norfolk is home to a U.S. Naval Base and sits on the Chesapeake Bay. East of Norfolk and lining the Atlantic Ocean is Virginia Beach, the second largest city in the state. Along with Newport News, the region is known as Hampton Roads.

Unemployment in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area is currently at 6.0%. The average wage for the area is comparable to the national average at $42,432 per year.

Besides the military, professional and business services employ the most residents. Presently, office workers hold most of the jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector currently employs the most workers with retail positions the leading job in that sector.

Tourism is a major draw with the naval base and popular beach destination. Military and public service aside, retail salespersons, office clerks, and waiters and waitresses are sub-sectors predicted to have the greatest job openings through 2018.

Virginia Workforce Council

The Virginia Workforce Council (VWC) is a board comprised of community business leaders whose primary objective is to advise the state government on workforce climate with regards to employer need. The VWC recently held public meetings to assess Richmond and Virginia Beach is next on the agenda.

The VWC also acts as the state board ensuring compliance with the federal Workforce Investment Act.