Indianapolis has a rich history of manufacturing and, with 60 automakers, even rivalled Detroit as a centre of automobile manufacturing in the 20th century. As in many Midwestern cities, though, deindustrialisation took its toll resulting in the closure of most automotive plants. Nowadays, Indy’s economy is unrecognisable from those heady days and mostly revolves around healthcare, insurance, and tourism generated through major sports events and conventions.
That’s not to say that the city’s economy isn’t thriving. It’s much more diversified than a few decades ago, job growth has been climbing steadily – the city ranking as one of the fastest high-tech job growth areas in the US – and unemployment is low. Young professionals, in particular, are relocating to Indianapolis to further their careers in the healthcare, insurance, tourism, or sport-related industries – the phenomenally popular Indy 500, in particular, generating plenty of income. The city’s influx of young, skilled jobseekers is also driven by its relatively gentler cost of living as compared to other nearby cities.
The city’s central location and proximity to the vast agricultural region known as the corn belt, as well as to bustling metros of the upper Midwest and East, make it a vital logistical centre, home to hundreds of distribution firms employing tens of thousands of workers.
Job market in Indianapolis
New arrivals in Indianapolis shouldn’t struggle to find a job. The city currently boasts three Fortune 500 companies, namely health insurance company Anthem Inc., pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, and the biggest real estate investment trust in the US, Simon Property Group, along with 90 other national companies.
Sports tourism plays a huge role. Sprawled over 560 acres just west of the city is the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which sees hundreds of thousands of people descend on the city every May to watch the most-attended sporting event in the US, the Indianapolis (or Indy) 500. Other major sporting events include the Brickyard 400 and the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments. Each of these, along with huge conventions held at various venues in the city every year, contribute tens of millions to the city’s economy, creating thousands of jobs, and millions in tax revenue.
Professionals moving to the city who work in the fields of healthcare or insurance, will also have their pick of jobs as several healthcare, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies have located their headquarters and regional offices in Indianapolis in the last few years. Logistics companies are also widespread, and the city is home to the second-largest FedEx Express hub in the world, and as a result, Indianapolis International Airport ranks as the sixth busiest US airport in terms of air cargo transport, handling over 1 million tons per year, and employing thousands.
Those who work in education should also come by jobs fairly easily. Apart from hundreds of schools, the city is also home to a host of higher-education institutions, such as Ball State University, Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Marian University, Martin University, and Ivy Tech Community College, among others.
Finding a job in Indianapolis
When searching for a new job in Indianapolis, new arrivals will do well to start their search online. Employers will often advertise new vacancies on various web portals and sites such as LinkedIn, or on recruiting sites.
Industry-specific agencies, be it in healthcare, insurance, hospitality or sports, are also a good way to go as they have intimate knowledge of the job market and will help connect suitable candidates with employers.
Being a rather compact city known for its 'small-town feel', Indianapolis has remarkably tight-knit communities and networks who welcome newcomers and are quick to lend a helping hand in the search for jobs.
Work culture in Indianapolis
As in any city, work culture in Indianapolis largely depends on the individual’s particular industry and company. Generally speaking though, Indy is much slower paced than the notorious rat races of big east coast cities such as New York, and the vibe is a bit more laid-back with a healthier work-life balance.
The workforce of Indianapolis, these days, is rather young, and the economy is vibrant and growing across a variety of sectors. Unemployment is remarkably low, and job security is generally stable, with workers guaranteed the right to work without the obligation to join a union – a right not all that common in Midwestern cities.
Big national and Fortune 500 companies that call Indianapolis home often provide their employees with a substantial range of benefits, opportunities, and career growth, while smaller start-ups in the tech and hospitality industries allow for more flexibility, if not as many benefits.