For decades, the world has looked to California as the birthplace of innovation and creativity. Los Angeles, famed the world over as the Entertainment Capital of the World, has also spent recent decades nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship, industriousness, and, of course, innovation, to become the home of some of the most forward-thinking and important industries in the US and the world.
In this blog post, we look at five of the major industries that are thriving in Los Angeles and the top employers in each sector attracting talent from near and far.
Aerospace & Defense
The Aerospace & Defense Industry is a network of organizations focused on manufacturing, research and technology, and national security & international affairs. It offers some of the most well-respected and exciting roles, from project management to engineering and consulting. The industry offers professionals the opportunity to work on mission-critical projects that drive innovation and solve real-world problems.
LA County leads the nation in aerospace and defense employment, employing over 70,000 people including federal workers.
Top employers include Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, as well as long-established leaders such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman, and new entrants including Relativity Space, SpaceX, and Rocket Lab.
Tens of thousands of workers in the biosciences industry call L.A. County home. The biosciences industry has come to thrive in Los Angeles over recent years for two main reasons:
- Access to talent and output from world-leading research and teaching hospitals including UCLA Medical Center, USC’s Keck School of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, as well as universities including Caltech, where students, scientists, and researchers are working on advances in implantable drug pumps, artificial retinas and cures for HIV as well as many other medical technologies.
- An already fertile base of biotech companies backed by county investments in infrastructure and capital for science startups. The region is home to Amgen, Kite Pharmaceuticals, Grifols, Quest Diagnostics, and other leading firms.
Creative Design Industries
Creative Design Industries in Los Angeles cover a wide range of skills and businesses, from apparel design, footwear, jewelry, leather products, furniture, toys, and beauty products.
It may be a surprise to some that LA County enjoys a reputation as the high-end denim capital of the world, and that Los Angeles employs some 68,3000 workers in apparel manufacturing. It also ranks #1 nationally in the manufacturing of leather goods including personal goods and luggage.
LA County is home to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, as well as top fashion brands including Guess, Forever 21, True Religion, and Hudson, and beauty brands Beautycounter and Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Information and Communication Technologies
Information and communication technology touches almost every industry and demand for middle- and higher-skill talent in the LA Basin is expected to boom over the next 5 years to total over 200,000 job openings.
Three main industries employ the majority of ICT workers: motion picture and video.
production industries, corporate, subsidiary and regional managing offices, and custom computer programming services.
In particular, demand for talent is expected to increase in the fields of e-commerce, internet publishing and web search portals, and data processing and hosting.
Top LA ICT employers include Google, Headspace, and Prodedge.
Digital Media & Entertainment
Los Angeles has been the eternal city of entertainment since the inception of cinema, but in recent years, the industry has been reinvented thanks to the development and adoption of new digital technologies. The television and movie industry has embraced new entrants like Amazon Studios and Netflix which now create alongside long-established studios such as Dreamworks and Fox Paramount.
Behind these big names is a groundswell of small businesses and independents working on everything from visual effects to the next distribution technology.
All the while, LA-based video game developers like Riot and Activision Blizzard are fronting the industry that is worth $65bn in the US alone.
In spite of COVID-19, Los Angeles continues to be a gateway for international and domestic trade and business, and a hub for the world’s most important and most innovative industries and companies.
Of course, every industry has been impacted by both the surge in new technologies as well as the pandemic which has forced almost every company to create new work practices to keep their business and employees safe. Now companies are looking for ways to stay agile and maintain the working practices, including remote and hybrid working models, that best suit them and their workforce.
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