Charlotte, North Carolina, fondly known as the “Queen City” and the “International Gateway to the South,” is the heart of the Southeast United States. The bustling city is experiencing tremendous growth, making it a hot spot for young professionals and job seekers. In fact, Forbes ranked Charlotte number five in their annual “Best Cities for Jobs” list in 2018.
According to recent estimates, the area saw a decade-long population growth rate of 59.6 percent, making Charlotte one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. With the cost of living coming in two percent below the national average, coupled with a positive outlook for job growth in the near future, it is easy to see how Charlotte has become one of the most desirable places to work in the country.
Below is a list of some of the top companies in the Charlotte, North Carolina area that all job seekers should be aware of in 2019, as well as some tips that can help increase your chances of getting hired.
Top Companies in the Charlotte, North Carolina Area
1. Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the top employers in Charlotte, maintaining a local workforce of over 15,000 employees for nearly a decade. Despite recent news regarding employment cuts, an article by the Charlotte Observer reports that “Bank of America executives say the bank remains committed to its home city. They point to Charlotte’s function as its headquarters as a major driver of the bank’s relative employment stability here.”
The attractive benefits offered by the organization reflect the bank’s commitment to the wellbeing of its employees—and demonstrates how far they are willing to go to attract qualified applicants. Eligible employees can take advantage of a variety of perks, including childcare reimbursement up to $240 per month and flexible scheduling options like “flextime,” which allows flexibility in terms of when the workday starts and ends and how many days a work week includes.
Bank of America also offers employees opportunities for advancement through innovative career development programs. Employees are, for example, eligible for reimbursement of up to $5,250 for job-related courses or to complete a job-related degree program.
Those interested in working for Bank of America should regularly check the company’s career page to view open positions. Though exact educational requirements will vary depending on the position that you’re applying for, earning a master’s degree in finance, or human resources management can prepare you for a variety of financial and business roles within the company.
2. Wells Fargo
Another large national bank sharing the Charlotte skyline is Wells Fargo. The company’s east coast division is headquartered at One Wells Fargo Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. As such, the bank employs roughly 25,000 workers in the metro area, making Charlotte its largest employment hub.
Wells Fargo views people as a competitive advantage, and thus makes it a priority to recruit top talent. In fact, the bank’s commitment to its employees has earned it a spot on LinkedIn’s Top Companies 2019: Where the US Wants to Work list. Wells Fargo came in at number 25 out of the 50 most desirable employers in the country. Their ranking is likely due in part to the impressive benefits and perks that the company offers: Employees are eligible for tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 annually, scholarships for dependent children, access to healthy living resources, and much more.
According to LinkedIn’s list, the job functions with the highest rate of new hires at Wells Fargo are finance, information technology, and support. If you are interested in building your career at Wells Fargo, earning a degree in one of these areas or another in-demand field of study could help you stand out from the competition. A Master of Science in Finance, Informatics, or Business Administration are all great options to expand your opportunities.
3. Duke Energy
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, is headquartered in Charlotte and is a major employer in the area. Since its foundation in the early 1900s, Duke Energy has grown to service millions of customers and has remained dedicated to supplying energy that is cleaner, more reliable, and affordable as the country’s energy industry has evolved.
Duke Energy prides itself on being different from other utility companies. Its mission is built around providing value to customers and shareholders by reducing emissions rates, investing in renewable energy, and powering communities. Additionally, the company is focused on driving innovation through projects like the development of new Smart Grid technology designed to modernize the region’s energy grid.
Employees at Duke Energy are passionate about having a role at such a highly regarded company. In fact, in 2019 the Duke Energy was named one of Forbes’ Most Admired Companies for the second year in a row. The company also earned a place on Forbes’ Best Employers for New Grads list in 2018; open positions can be viewed on their careers page.
Many of the company’s open positions relate specifically to engineering and project management positions. As such, earning a degree related to these business areas—such as a Master of Science in Energy Systems, Engineering Management, Project Management—can all act as powerful signals to hiring managers that you are qualified for the job.
4. Atrium Health
Atrium Health, formerly known as Carolinas HealthCare System, is a healthcare network that consists of more than 40 hospitals and 900 care locations in both North and South Carolina. The organization is a not-for-profit business headquartered in Charlotte and employs roughly 60,000 workers between all of its locations.
Atrium Health is dedicated to providing patients the highest-quality care, supporting research and education, and striving for a healthier community overall. The organization and all of its healthcare providers are held to four core values: caring, commitment, integrity, and teamwork.
As a result of their dedication, Atrium Health has received numerous awards for various achievements. Aside from recognition in the medical field, Atrium Health also earned a place on Forbes’ Best Employers for New Grads list in 2018 as well as the Best Employers for Women list in the same year.
Depending on your interests, there are many avenues to becoming an Atrium employee. In any case, earning a relevant master’s degree can help you to increase your chances of standing out amongst the competition. For example, those interested in working in a medical capacity for the company may want to consider a specialized degree, such as a master’s degree in respiratory leadership or neonatal nurse practice.
5. Novant Health
Similarly to Atrium, Novant Health is a system of physician practices, hospitals, outpatient centers, and other medical services headquartered in Winston-Salem and operating throughout North Carolina (including Charlotte). Novant is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 4 million patients annually across North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia. The company employs more than 28,000 professionals and is a major employer in the Charlotte area.
Novant Health is driven by its core values of compassion, diversity and inclusion, personal excellence, teamwork, and inclusion. The organization is also focused on improving the health of communities through more than just quality care. In addition to caring for patients directly, Novant has various community involvement programs like disease prevention services, community health education, wellness coaching, and much more.
You don’t necessarily have to be a healthcare professional to work at Novant. There are employment opportunities in various areas, from medicine and allied health to administrative and technical departments. As with Atrium, those interested in working in a medical capacity should consider earning a specialized degree to increase chances of being hired. Those who would like to work in a non-medical role may find increased success by earning a master’s degree in business administration, health informatics, and more.
One of the most well-known companies in the world also calls Charlotte home: Amazon. It’s no surprise that the tech giant’s Queen City offices are among the most sought after workplaces in the area.
Employee benefits—like the free employee assistance program, flexible parental leave, and an annual discount at Amazon.com—are just a few of the perks that come with working at the retail giant. Additionally, the company’s culture is defined by leadership, inclusion, and, of course, growth. Amazon employees are encouraged to continuously strive for growth, in both a professional and personal sense.
Jason, a Software Development Manager at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, says, “After having spent more than a decade at Amazon, I’m still learning new things every day and am constantly impressed by the extremely high-caliber people I get to work with. I’m consistently challenged to learn and grow, and I love the exposure to so many new and exciting technologies. My time at Amazon has enabled me to grow in so many different dimensions—as a person, as an engineer, as a people manager, and as a thinker.”
Of course, positions available at the Charlotte office vary depending on the company’s needs. However, there are often many technical openings related to information architecture, cloud computing, IT support, business development, and project management.
These positions demand very specific skill sets. One way of demonstrating your proficiency in these areas is to earn an advanced degree in a field related to the job that you are interested in. For those interested in technical work, a Master of Science in Computer Science, Cybersecurity, or Analytics may be a good choice; for those interested in business development, a degree in project management, leadership, or innovation may be a better fit.
Like IBM, Amazon is another proud partner of Northeastern University’s co-op program at the Charlotte regional campus. Past students have experienced a variety of positions across different fields of interest at Amazon’s Charlotte, North Carolina offices.
Passport is an innovative company that develops software to solve the problems of modern transportation. Passport’s products allow municipalities and private operators to collect mobile payments for parking, enable mobile ticketing for transit operations, and support a variety of other practical functions that impact mobility. More than 5,000 locations in over 600 cities worldwide use Passport.
Located in the heart of Charlotte, Passport’s headquarters is a place where leadership firmly believes that people should come first. The company has been recognized as an outstanding workplace by The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. Employee benefits include paid parental leave, a “take as you need” vacation policy, and even optional pet insurance.
Passport CEO Bob Youakim says, “There are very few times you could ever be a part of something special where you’re actually changing industry, but then an opportunity like Passport comes along and you get to be part of a technology company making new products.”
Like many other software companies, a large percentage of employees at Passport has a background in computer science, engineering, and business. As such, if you are interested in employment at Passport you may want to consider earning an advanced degree in computer science, analytics, or project management.
LendingTree is a consumer lending company that provides financing tools, comparative loan searches, and borrowing information to consumers. The company acts as a broker by connecting customers with various lenders, banks, and credit partners through its online exchange. Since LendingTree was founded in 1998, it has facilitated more than 65 million loan requests.
Headquartered in Charlotte, LendingTree has more than 900 employees in the city and even more around the country. The company takes pride in being a relaxed, yet highly motivated workplace. Employees enjoy working in an entrepreneurial, fun, and dynamic environment that allows them to challenge the status quo and build their skills through hands-on experience.
Employment opportunities at LendingTree exist across four main teams: technology, product management, online marketing, and sales. Because each of these areas requires its own set of professional skills, earning an advanced degree in your field of interest will help you demonstrate your proficiency and expertise. As with the employers listed above, degrees in computer science, business administration, and project management remain popular among LendingTree hires.
Lowe’s began as a small-town hardware store in North Carolina in 1946 and has since grown into the second largest home improvement retailer in the nation. Today, Lowe’s has more than 2,370 retail locations and 290,000 employees in the U.S. The company’s corporate headquarters is located just outside of Charlotte in Mooresville, North Carolina.
Although Lowe’s is such a large entity, community involvement is still integral to the company’s culture. Since 2007, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation have contributed more than $250 million to programs that focus on K-12 public education and community involvement projects. Employees at Lowe’s are passionate about social responsibility and are proud to have an impact on the communities in which they work.
For undergraduate and graduate students who are looking to kick off their careers, Lowe’s offers a 10-week summer internship program. This opportunity gives students the chance to gain valuable experience, build their professional skills, and get their foot in the door at a Fortune 50 company. Additionally, recent graduates are eligible for 24-month rotational programs across a variety of fields in which they can gain hands-on experience while building relationships with peers and mentors within the company. Upon completion of the program, participants are encouraged to apply for full-time positions.
There are many opportunities for employment at Lowe’s corporate headquarters across various fields of interest including business development, information technology, finance and accounting, real estate, engineering, and more.
While advanced degrees typically are not required of applicants, earning one can help you stand out from the competition and increase your likelihood of being hired. For technical roles, a master’s degree in computer science or analytics can be a good fit, while some of the more business-focused roles may benefit from a degree in project management, leadership, corporate and organizational communication, or innovation.
IBM, the widely known multinational technology company, has offices spread around the globe, including one within several hours of Charlotte.
With more than 380,000 employees, IBM is one of the largest employers in the world. It’s also the largest businesses in Research Triangle Park, where it employs more than 10,000 workers as of 2018.
When you become an IBMer (the nickname for IBM employees), however, you are more than just a number. The company is dedicated to helping its employees achieve their highest potential and holds the belief that IBMers are the company’s greatest invention.
Inclusivity is at the heart of IBM’s corporate culture, and one of the many aspects that makes it such a great place to work. Darius, an IBMer since 2016, notes that acceptance of diversity is the foundation of a collaborative culture. He says, “I’m proud to work for an inclusive company where my colleagues are interested to learn about me and my culture.”
If you’re interested in working at IBM, whether nearby Charlotte or elsewhere, it’s important to note that having a background in science, technology, and analytics remain as important to the company as ever. Fran O’Sullivan, IBM senior state executive for North Carolina, told RTP.org in 2016 that “Data sciences are a huge requirement skill we’re looking for in the future.”
With this in mind, earning a master’s degree in analytics, computer science, or another related field and pairing that education with the right levels of experience can open doors at the company.
Northeastern University’s Charlotte campus has partnered with IBM to enable students to alternate semesters of academic study with semesters of full-time employment in positions related to their career interests. This unique cooperative (or “co-op”) program integrates classroom study with practical experience in a way that results in robust learning and unmatched personal and professional development. IBM is one of many partnering employers with whom students have the chance to work.
Preparing for Your Dream Career
In a city that is experiencing rapid growth in employment opportunities, it’s clear to see why many young professionals are looking to build their careers in Charlotte.
From advancing your skill set with a graduate degree in your field of interest, to working full-time through Northeastern University’s co-op program, there are many ways for individuals to prepare themselves to join the workforce at one of these top companies and set themselves apart from the competition.
Learn more about how the opportunities at Northeastern University-Charlotte can help prepare you for a successful career in Charlotte and beyond.
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