Advertiser Disclosure

Popular Entry-Level Jobs in San Francisco Outside of Tech

May 15, 2015
Loans, Student Loans
Popular Entry-Level Jobs in San Francisco Outside of Tech
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

If you relied solely on popular culture and media for a view of the San Francisco job market, you’d think the only entry-level jobs in the city are for engineers in hip tech startups that offer cushy offices and cool perks. In reality, the technology sector doesn’t even crack the top three industries here: health care, retail and financial activities.

“I would say that people have a misconception that there are only jobs in tech here, but you can always find nontech roles,” says Sean Little, vice president of marketing for FirstJob, a marketplace for hiring millennial talent. “There’s still a thriving economy in this city not directly related to startups.”

If you weave through the tech haze you can find a wealth of entry-level jobs in the other big sectors such as health care, financial activities and retail. More than 405,600 job openings are expected between 2012 and 2022, according to the state Employment Development Department.

The roles that need to be filled

Jobs might have different titles, but Little says he sees the most popular entry-level jobs broken down into three main roles: sales development representatives, account executives and customer success positions. You can find these jobs across an array of industries.

Sales development representatives are in high demand and benefit grads with little experience in the area. “If you’re coming out of college it requires very little experience. They look for motivated people who can train and then move into the flow of everyone else within a year to 18 months,” Little says.

Customer success usually has to do with managing clients directly, Little says. Account executives are similar, but generally they manage the ins and outs of company processes from paychecks to delivery of goods and services as well as operations.

The fastest growing new jobs and openings

The type of new jobs available to entry-level employees from industry growth or replacement needs will depend on how much education a recent graduate has had, according to the EDD. Some jobs will require specific degrees, while others need only relevant experience to qualify.

The department projects that by 2022 the biggest nontech jobs for associate degree holders will include medical and clinical laboratory technician; social science research assistant; paralegal and legal assistant; registered nurse; and preschool teacher.

Recent graduates holding bachelor’s degrees will find the most popular nontech occupations by 2022 will include:

  • Biomedical engineer
  • Logistician
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Operations research analysts
  • Accountants and auditors
  • General and operations managers
  • Management analysts

At the master’s degree level, recent grads can expect to see openings by 2022 for nontech positions including economists; statisticians; nurse practitioners; rehabilitation counselors; mental health counselors; educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors; education administrators for elementary and secondary schools; and urban and regional planners.

Health care

The biggest industry in San Francisco is not tech, but health care. The health industry comprises 20% of the city’s workforce with its 121,000 employees, according to a 2014 San Francisco Health Sector Impact Report from the Hospital Council of Northern & Central California.
Many of the new jobs will come from expanded or new hospitals including the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay and the San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center in 2015 as well as Chinese Hospital and a new Kaiser Permanente medical office building in Mission Bay next year.

Biomedical research companies are chief hirers as well thanks to the growth of this subsector in the last 10-plus years. From 2003 to 2014, 107 biomedical companies began or moved into the area, according to the report.

Some popular entry-level jobs in the health care field include case management nurse, registered nurse, home health nurse, nurse practitioner, health care practice account executive, surgical technician, sales and marketing manager, and general caregiver.


Employment projections for the retail industry expect to reach 97,700 jobs by 2020, according to the state. The retail trade includes food and beverage, health and personal care, clothing and general merchandise.

Some of the biggest retail companies based in San Francisco include Banana Republic, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Gap Inc. and Old Navy, Gymboree and Levi Strauss & Co.

The types of entry-level positions retail companies hire for may include customer experience associate, retail sales representative, customer success manager, merchandise assistant, merchandise planner, retail store design associate and merchandiser.

Financial activities

San Francisco is the financial hub of the West Coast. More than 74,000 people are employed in the finance and insurance industries in San Francisco, according to the EDD.

The city is home to brokerage and banking firms, in addition to numerous venture capitalists. Some of the biggest companies within these sectors headquartered in the Bay Area include Wells Fargo, First Republic Bank, Blue Shield of California and Charles Schwab.

The kinds of entry-level jobs insurance and finance companies hire for could include insurance agent, personal banker, account associate, accountant and especially operations and financial analysts.

In your search…

As you’re job hunting in the Bay Area, try to look past job titles and read between the lines in descriptions. Little says people sometimes get stuck “reading a job description and thinking that doesn’t apply to me.” Instead, inventory your strengths and comfort level and then match your skills to job openings.

Anna Helhoski is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @AnnaHelhoski.