SoloPoint Insights

California’s Hot Industries in 2024

Despite recent layoff news in 2024, there is still a demand for engineering candidates in specific industries in California. What are these industries, and what drives their demand for engineering talent?

California’s labor market greatly weakened, with tech layoffs reaching up to 21,600 workers. Tech job cuts in the Bay Area alone could surpass 35,000 with major layoffs including Tesla and Apple. California’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in 2024, the highest in the nation, increasing nearly four times faster than the national average. However, even though layoffs are taking place, and unemployment is slowly creeping up, there are still industries hiring engineers.

Which industries are still hiring?

1. Aerospace

California is a global aerospace leader, holding 9% of the global Space and Aircraft market, and is leading in space instrumentation, satellite manufacturing, and engineering services. Its aerospace industry supports over 511,000 high-paying jobs, generates over $100 billion in annual economic activity, and contributes $7 billion in state and local taxes. 

Relevancy in today’s market

The Aerospace industry experienced a revival in product demand during 2023, with the domestic commercial aviation sector’s revenue passenger kilometers surpassing pre-pandemic levels in most countries, leading to increased demand for new aircrafts and for services catering to the maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) needs of the existing fleet.

Simultaneously, new and exciting innovations are taking place in aviation. Engines and aircraft are becoming lighter, quieter, and more efficient. Emerging technologies are reshaping the industry, including robotics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, unmanned aircraft systems, and the push for hybrid and electric airplanes – just to name a few. These advancements are spurring further investments in research and development.

Growth projection

The Global Aerospace Segment market is set for substantial growth and is projected to hit $1 trillion by 2026, with the space economy reaching $1.1 trillion by 2030. Currently, there are about 69,600 aerospace engineers in the US, with a 6.0% job market growth expected between 2016 and 2026, requiring 7,800 new aerospace engineers in the next 10 years. 

Aerospace companies that are hiring in California:

Turion Space, an Irvine-based startup focused on space sustainability, has secured a significant boost to its operations. The company, founded in 2020 to address the growing issue of space debris and congestion in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), has been awarded six recent contracts totaling $5 million from esteemed organizations such as NASA, the United States Space Force, and the United States Air Force. They currently have engineering openings in their guidance, navigation and controls (GNC) division.

Pyka, an autonomous electric airplane maker in Oakland, secured $37 million in Series A funding in 2022 and acquired a 110,000 sq. ft. historic aviation hangar in the Bay Area for scaled manufacturing and R&D in 2024 has opened new engineering opportunities.

2. Renewable Energy

The renewable energy sector is set for significant growth in 2024, with a projected 17% increase in renewable deployment and an 8% rise in global renewable electricity capacity. As of 2022, 263,883 workers are employed in the solar energy sector in the U.S., with California as the leading state with 78,116 solar jobs.

Relevancy in today’s market

Renewables are anticipated to constitute over 90% of new global electricity capacity additions, while the solar industry is witnessing significant expansion in domestic manufacturing capacity, with several countries announcing plans to establish or expand production facilities. This surge is fueled by escalating investments in renewable infrastructure, fueled by state mandates, corporate initiatives, and growing cost competitiveness. 

Growth projection

In California, the state aims for 90% carbon-free electricity by 2035 and 100% by 2045. To sustain the global buildout of renewable energy infrastructure and local supply chains, companies will require growing and retraining workers with in-demand skills. The state is also a recipient of $1.2 billion worth of federal funding to build “Hydrogen Hubs” to meet the mission of slowing down  climate change and achieving net-zero greenhouse emissions.

Renewable energy companies that are hiring in California:

Sunnyvale-based Antora Energy, which specializes in advanced thermal storage systems, has raised $150 million in Series B funding to ramp up U.S. production and slash industrial emissions, and is currently expanding its workforce across all engineering divisions to support this ambitious growth.

Verdagy, a green hydrogen industry leader, closed a $73 million Series B round co-led by Temasek and Shell Ventures. They opened a new 100,000+ sq. ft. advanced manufacturing facility in Newark, California, with plans to expand their workforce to meet growing demand.

3. Semiconductor

The global semiconductor industry is rapidly evolving due to increased demand for advanced chipsets and integrated circuits, driven by AI, IoT, 5G, and autonomous vehicles. In the U.S., the industry employs over 345,000 workers in various roles in design, R&D, and manufacturing, supporting over a quarter million direct jobs and an additional 2 million indirect and induced jobs.

Relevancy in today’s market

Since the introduction of the CHIPS Act, companies worldwide have announced over $200 billion in private investments in U.S. semiconductor ecosystem projects. These projects are expected to generate tens of thousands of direct jobs within the semiconductor industry and support hundreds of thousands of additional jobs across the U.S. economy.

Growth projection

By the start of 2024, 77 new U.S. semiconductor facilities with 33 expansions are being built. The U.S. chip industry’s workforce is projected to grow by nearly 115,000 jobs by 2030. It is predicted to grow to $617 billion globally in 2024, up 16.6% YoY

Semiconductor companies that are hiring in California: 

Lam Research and Applied Materials, which both specialize in semiconductor manufacturing, have increased their shares by over 400% in the last five years. The demand is driven by investor excitement over the AI revolution, which relies on their semiconductor equipment. This increased in production has led to more engineering opportunities in 2024.

Even though some companies are “right-sizing”, various industries are continuously looking for engineering talent due to ongoing innovation and infrastructure needs. Transitioning careers or finding employment can be daunting, but SoloPoint Solutions can assist in your search. 

Visit SoloPoint’s Job Board or connect with one of our technical recruiters to explore current opportunities:

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