Chicago has a rich history of transformation and economic growth. The State of Chicago estimates that if Chicago were to be a stand-alone country, it would be the world’s 20th largest economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over four million people are employed in the city’s non-farming sector, most working in the trade, transportation, and utility sectors.
All these factors make Chicago an excellent area to grow your career, so we’ve curated a list of the 10 most prominent companies in Chicago and what it’s like to work for them.
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Chicago Job Market
Today, Chicago is home to one of the most diverse economies in the United States. A recent report showed that manufacturing, professional and business services, trade, transport, and utilities are Chicago’s major industry sectors, employing hundreds of thousands of people.
BLS estimates that stockers and order fillers are Chicago’s lowest earners with an average of $15.32 per hour. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents are the city’s highest earners, with an average of $46.57 per hour.
Many companies are now filling open positions for many different careers. Additionally, companies increase their base salary, offering great bonuses and inducements to attract and retain talent.
Chicago Key Industries
- Trade, transport, and utilities
- Professional and business services
- Education and health services
What Is Chicago’s Unemployment Rate?
Chicago’s unemployment rate is 4.8 percent. According to BLS, Chicago’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.2 to 4.8 percent between June 2021 and November 2021, marking the lowest jobless rate since 2020. According to the Chicago Tribune, the leisure and hospitality industry saw the most significant gains as the sector generated over 8,000 jobs.
Who Is the Largest Employer in Chicago?
Amazon is Chicago’s largest employer as it hired over 5,500 public employees in late 2020. Walgreens comes second with nearly 4,500 employees. The largest employer by industry is trade, transportation, and utilities, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employs over 947,000 people in Chicago.
Top Employers in Chicago: At a Glance
|Company||Industry||Global Headcount||Hiring For|
|Amazon||Retail, Technology||1,300,000||Warehouse associates, software engineers, business developers|
|Accenture||Professional Services Information Technology Consulting||674,000||Software engineers, database analysts and administrators, marketing and sales representatives|
|IBM||Technology||350,000||Data science and analytics professionals, software engineers, cloud software engineers|
|Walgreens||Retail, Pharmaceuticals||225,000||Warehouse associates, software engineers, healthcare service providers|
|Boeing||Aerospace||141,014||Cyber security professionals, engineers, data science, and analytics professionals|
|Mondelez International Inc||Food Processing||80,000||Warehouse associates, sales representatives, retail merchandiser/stocker|
|AbbVie Inc||Biopharmaceuticals||48,000||Researchers, scientists, manufacturing specialists, regulatory experts, marketing professionals.|
|Illinois Tool Works||Manufacturing||45,000||Machine operators, assemblers, engineers|
|Archer Daniels Midland Company||Food Processing||38,000||Warehouse associates, engineers, health and safety experts|
|Arthur J Gallagher & Co||Brokerage Insurance||34,000||Data analysts, compensation consultants, underwriter associate|
Largest Chicago Companies to Work For
Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers that focuses on online shopping. This American company strives to offer consumers the lowest possible prices at the best convenience. Amazon has thrived in the last two years, with reports suggesting that the company hired over 450,000 people since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting a job at Amazon is relatively straightforward.
What Is It Like to Work at Amazon?
Amazon is an okay place to work. Judging by the thousands of employee reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor, this company pays well, has flexible schedules, and allows individuals to meet their personal goals.
However, Amazon has a history of long hours, short breaks, and imposing demanding workloads. Some of these expectations might discourage some people, but the compensation and pay should prove worthwhile.
Top Reasons to Work at Amazon
- Great pay with benefits
- Excellent for starting your career, low barriers to entry
- Flexible work schedules
Accenture provides professional business and consulting services. The global firm has a footprint in strategy, technology, management, consulting, and operation services. Accenture’s mission is to help clients create their future.
What Is It Like to Work at Accenture?
Working at Accenture is great, according to thousands of employee reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor. This company scored 4.2 out of five stars on Glassdoor, with most employees citing good salaries and an employee-friendly culture. However, most employees also stated the company offers few professional development opportunities.
Top Reasons to Work at Accenture
- The company offers good pay with benefits, including a 401(k) plan
- Employee-friendly work culture
- Inclusive culture
IBM is a global innovator that sells cloud and software technologies. The company offers a wide range of tech solutions to organizations worldwide. Reports by CNBC show that IBM has had its most substantial revenue growth in the past three years. Getting a job at IBM is relatively challenging, with high competition for limited positions.
What Is It Like to Work at IBM?
IBM is best known for its positive and employee-friendly work culture. They encourage employees to partake in their company culture. Although some positions have lower-than-average compensation rates, the benefits and flexibility at work make up for it.
Top Reasons to Work at IBM
- Opportunities for professional growth
- Amazing company culture
- Excellent benefits and bonuses
Walgreens works in retail and specializes in health, wellness, and filling prescriptions. According to its official webpage, Walgreens has experienced significant growth over the past years, from $217 million to $1.3 billion in 2021. Since employees were a big part of this, Walgreens seeks to develop careers and expand its employee skillset.
What Is It Like to Work at Walgreens?
Working at Walgreens is slightly better than your average workplace. According to over 20,000 employee reviews on Glassdoor, Walgreens has a great work atmosphere and encourages flexibility. Although the pay is relatively low, the benefits make up for it. Both of those factors will differ if you are looking for a retail or corporate position.
Top Reasons to Work at Walgreens
- Good work atmosphere
- Flexible work schedules
- Great benefits
Boeing is a multinational corporation specializing in airplanes, telecommunication equipment, and missiles. Boeing Commercial Airplanes have allowed this company to score highly on the Fortune 500 with a market value of $129 billion. Boeing plans to keep training its employees and provide ample opportunities for career development.
What Is It Like to Work at Boeing?
Working at Boeing is great for the most part. Boeing’s executive team is one of the few that values a positive work-life balance. Many reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed also suggest the company offers excellent benefits to its employees.
Top Reasons to Work at Boeing
- Outstanding work-life balance
- Great benefits
- Opportunity for growth and career development
Mondelez International Inc
Mondelez International is a food processing company specializing in manufacturing biscuits, powdered beverages, confectionery, cookies, and chocolate. The company is best known for Oreo, Toblerone, and Cadbury snacks. Mondelez has experienced significant growth over the years and seeks to develop its portfolio to fulfill the global need for snacking.
What Is It Like to Work at Mondelez International Inc?
Working at Mondelez International is great considering the positive work-life balance. Thousands of employees on Indeed feel the company encourages a healthy work-life balance which includes flexible working hours. Overall, the company scores four stars out of five on Indeed’s workplace ratings.
Top Reasons to Work at Mondelez International Inc
- Good pay
- Healthy work-life balance
- Good work culture
AbbVie Inc is a research-based pharmaceutical company that combines science with technology. This company is a patient-oriented biopharmaceutical company capable of sustainable performance in delivering innovative new medicines. According to its official website, the company has invested more than $50 billion in developing new treatments.
What Is It Like to Work at AbbVie Inc?
According to the thousands of employee reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed, AbbVie Inc generally motivated its employees who became enthusiastic about working here. Although there are many claims of long working hours, the benefits make up for it.
Top Reasons to Work at AbbVie Inc
- Great atmosphere and company culture
- Supportive company
- Good benefits
Illinois Tool Works
Illinois Tools Works is a major industrial equipment manufacturer for a wide range of products for various sectors such as automotive, welding, construction, and electronics.
What Is It Like to Work at Illinois Tool Works?
Illinois Tools and Works is a stable company that offers excellent benefits to its employees. There is a good company culture that creates a great working environment. However, expect to put in long hours and manage a demanding workload.
Top Reasons to Work at Illinois Tool Works
- Friendly work environment
- Good employee benefits
- Robust investment in existing talent
Archer Daniels Midland Company
Archer Daniels Midland Company is a food processing company that operates grain elevators and transportation networks. This company strives to become one of the world’s leading agricultural processors.
What Is It Like to Work at Archer Daniels Midland Company?
Working at Archer Daniels Midland Company is worthwhile as many employee reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed show that this corporation offers good salaries and benefits. However, there are numerous reports of employees working long hours with few breaks. Nonetheless, the pay is great enough to make it worthwhile.
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Top Reasons to Work at Archer Daniels Midland Company
- Good pay, especially overtime hours
- Decent work environment
- Average work culture
Arthur J Gallagher & Co
Arthur J Gallagher & Co specializes in insurance brokerage and consulting services. This company operates through three different corporate, brokerage, and risk management sections.
What Is It Like to Work at Arthur J Gallagher & Co?
Working at Arthur J Gallagher & Co is decent for the most part. The employee reviews on Indeed and Glassdoor and found that employees generally enjoyed the work environment. They also appreciated how the company cared for them, especially during the pandemic. However, there are multiple reports of demanding workloads that can interfere with the work culture.
Top Reasons to Work at Arthur J Gallagher & Co
- Great work culture
- Company takes good care of its employees
- Good pay and benefits
Other Big Companies Headquartered in Chicago
- Hyatt Hotels
- UnitedHealth Group
- Exelon Corporation
- West Monroe Partners
- United Airlines
- Old Republic International
- Telephone and Data Systems
- Conagra Brands
- Motorola Solutions
Where to Find a Job in Chicago: Top Chicago Job Boards
The City Of Chicago
The government is one of the largest employers in Chicago. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Government employs over 526,000 people in Chicago. Their human resources department posts thousands of jobs in different fields, including non-profit, private, and public sectors.
The City of Chicago partners with some of the largest companies in the private sector, which includes employers such as Boeing Capital Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and AT&T.
Built In Chicago
Built In Chicago is a website dedicated to uniting talented professionals in the tech industry. The site helps people in Chicago find open jobs in various tech-related fields such as data analytics, design and UX, software development, and engineering. However, the site is not limited to tech as it also features jobs in the legal, marketing, project management, sales, and finance fields.
Indeed is one of the largest job boards in North America. According to its official web page, Indeed adds at least 10 jobs every second, attracting over 250 million monthly visitors. The site features tons of open positions in Chicago.
What Is Chicago’s Tech Scene Like?
The Chicago tech scene has been rapidly growing, with many considering it an international hub for innovation. The number of tech startups in this city is growing each year. While it might still not be on par with cities like San Francisco and New York, Chicago still offers excellent opportunities for talented professionals in the tech industry.
Can a Bootcamp Help Me Get a Job With a Top Chicago Employer?
Yes, a coding bootcamp can help you get a job with a top Chicago employer. Chicago is full of large tech companies and developing startups. But to get a job with a leading employer, you’ll need in-demand tech skills such as software engineering, cloud engineering, computer programming, network, and database administration.
Top coding bootcamps in Chicago can help you gain these skills in a short period, usually six months to a year. Additionally, many coding bootcamps offer career services that prepare students for employment. You should strongly consider a coding bootcamp if you want to get a high-paying job with a top employer in Chicago.
Top Coding Bootcamps in Chicago
- General Assembly
- Coding Dojo
Why Chicago Is a Great Place to Achieve Your Career Goals
Chicago is a great place to develop your career because of the economic diversity and extensive network of global powerhouse companies in this city. This means that you’ll find numerous employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, from tech to finance to healthcare and manufacturing. Most of these jobs will come with career advancement opportunities.
Chicago’s average expenditure is slightly lower than the national average, meaning that you’ll be able to save up and invest in a business or yourself. One of the best ways to invest in yourself is by picking up new skills taught in a college or bootcamp. Consider enrolling in a top coding bootcamp if you want to gain in-demand skills such as computer programming or data analytics.
Biggest Companies in Chicago FAQ
What industry is biggest in Chicago?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the biggest industry in Chicago is the trade, transport, and utilities industry which employs over 940,000 people, closely followed by the professional and business services sector, which employs over 825,000 people. Other prominent industries in Chicago include education and healthcare, leisure and hospitality, the government, manufacturing, and construction.
How many Fortune 500 companies are in Chicago?
According to a list compiled by Fortune, there are 27 companies in the Fortune 500 with their corporate headquarters in Chicago. Archer Daniels Midlands (ADM) tops the list as one of the most successful companies with a revenue of approximately $65 billion, followed by Boeing and AbbVie with revenues of $58 billion and $45 billion, respectively.
Who is the largest employer in Illinois?
Amazon is Illinois’ largest employer and biggest company in the region. Reports by Chicago Business suggest that more than 36,000 people in Illinois will have worked for Amazon by the end of 2020. However, Walgreen, AbbVie, Boeing, Conagra Brands, and the Northern Trust Corporation have all reported hiring thousands of people in Illinois.
How do people make money in Chicago?
Many people in Chicago make money by working in the trade, transportation, and utilities industry which is the city’s largest employer. If you want to make a lot of money in Chicago, you should consider joining the finance industry.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics estimates that securities and financial service sales agents are Chicago’s highest earners, making about $46.57 an hour. If this is not an option, consider getting a second job as most companies in the city have improved their minimum wages, bonuses, and benefits.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.