The federal government is without a doubt the biggest source of jobs in the District of Columbia area. However, if you are engaged in the process of finding jobs in Washington DC, it is important to keep in mind that not all of the jobs created by the federal government are direct hires. In fact, there are a wealth of government contractor jobs in Washington DC that are often easier to find than their federal government counterparts, and usually pay better as well!
Government contracting has really exploded over the last few decades as Americans have become more and more cautious of additional government growth and spending. Thus, no matter what your field, from engineering to medicine to mathematics, government contractors are expected to be a lucrative source of Washington, DC job opportunities into the near future. Additionally, while getting a true federal government job can be a nightmare of lengthy applications and prolonged waiting, applying to work at a government contractor is more in line with private industry hiring norms.
In particular, the defense industry has always been a huge source of government contracting jobs. By some estimates, defense contractor Lockheed Martin is the single largest private employer in the Washington, DC area, with over 20,000 workers. However, rival contractor Northrop Grumman announced last year that it would be moving its headquarters to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, potentially making for an even larger source of defense contracting jobs in the area. Defense contracting jobs in particular demand a highly educated workforce trained in physics and other “hard sciences,” and are often the first destination for graduates of top DC-area universities.
When finding jobs in Washington DC, government contracting jobs should always be high on your list of potential employment opportunities. With frequent openings and a variety of diverse skills needed, the government contracting workforce is always a strong source of jobs for residents of the Washington, DC area.