If you’re looking for a job in Oakland, this guide has everything you need to know about getting to work, wages, cost of living, coffee shops, lunch specials, happy hours, and coworking spaces.

Photo Credit: Brie Restless

Oakland is a big city, just east of the San Francisco bay, uniting over 50 neighborhoods that range from buzzing, urban centers to quiet, forest havens. It’s a vibrant city known for its cultural diversity, social activism, and emphasis on sustainability—the folks in suits downtown are almost as likely to be working in the public sector as the private.

It says a lot about the city’s professional culture that some of its largest employers are the Oakland Unified School District, Alameda County, and the Alta Bates and Kaiser Permanente medical centers. For a lot of people, their work and passion are one in the same. 

The Port of Oakland has also long been the backbone of the local economy, and to this day, provides a huge number of jobs to residents. More recently, tech and green energy start-ups have been moving to Oakland, mostly in the downtown, Lake Merritt and Jack London Square areas. With them have come a slew of stylish cafes, cocktail bars, and boutiques. If you’re working in Oakland, you’ll get the cosmopolitan vibe with a little more personal space than your average city.


Getting to Work

Because Oakland is so large, some parts are easier to access than others.  20% of commuters use public transportation. BART is a popular option for getting to work because there are eight stations in Oakland, which run to and from most parts of the Bay Area. AC Transit also runs bus lines across the city, as well as into Berkeley, San Francisco, and Alameda. 

Ferry transit is an option for commuters from San Francisco and Alameda as well. The city has begun to add protected bike lanes to certain neighborhoods, making commuting by bike more convenient. However, despite public transport and biking options, 75% of people with work in Oakland navigate the reasonable traffic by car.

Curious about the cost of your commute? Calculate commute time and costs here.

Wages in Oakland

In January 2017, Oakland’s minimum wage rose to $12.86 an hour. Be sure to check the City of Oakland’s website for the most up-­to-date minimum wage information!

In April 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will increase the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Be sure to check the CA.gov website for the most up-to-date minimum wage information.

The median household income in Oakland is $54,618 resting just below the national average of $53,046. The median individual income is $27,624.

Cost of Living in Oakland

The cost of living in Oakland is relatively cheap compared to some of its neighboring cities in the Bay Area. As of March 2017, the median home sale price in Oakland is $555,000 and the median rent price is $2,900 per month.

Eating and Drinking in Oakland

Whether you need to get caffeinated in the morning or wind down after work, there’s no shortage of restaurants, bars, and cafes to try in Oakland.

Grab a coffee before work at La Farine, Farley’s East, and Arizmendi Bakery. Be sure to eat lunch at Bakesale Betty, Homeroom, and The Hog’s Apothecary. Meet your friends after work for happy hour at Mua, Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill, and Chop Bar.

Coworking Spaces in Oakland

For freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses, coworking is a great option. A coworking community can offer you flexibility, conference space access, and a network of new co-workers with whom to share office supplies and great ideas. 

For coworking options in Oakland, check out Impact Hub, The Port Workspaces, Percolator Workspace, and NextSpace Coworking. You can also look on Liquidspace, a searchable database of monthly and hourly workspaces.

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