Find Your Perfect Career in Iowa
Ample job opportunities and a wonderful lifestyle beckon for those who choose to move to Iowa.
There’s nothing quite like living in Iowa. Residents can build a strong, successful career, thanks to the state’s slew of job opportunities, all while crafting a fun, flourishing lifestyle that meets their distinct tastes. Here’s just a glimpse of some of the advantages this state has to offer.
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Plenty of Jobs in Iowa
Finding the perfect job is an easy feat when searching in Iowa. The state is home to a number of diverse sectors, from advanced manufacturing and biosciences to education technology, and insurance and financial services.
Plus, several well-known companies can be found here, such as John Deere, Whirlpool, Pella Corp., Winnebago, Dotdash Meredith, Principal Financial, Collins Aerospace and HNI Corp.
“The thing I love about HNI – regardless of where you’re at in your career – we have a path for you,” says Matthew Nicol, senior talent acquisition manager at HNI. “As we think about the various skill sets or verticals, we have engineering, we have supply chain, we have operational leadership roles, maintenance and skilled trades, HR, legal, environmental health and safety – sustainability is an emerging career – or someone can come in and build a career from the ground up on our production floor.”
And HNI is not in the minority when it comes to providing options. Jobs in several fields can be found in companies across Iowa. Higher Learning Technologies, a company that creates mobile studying solutions, is the perfect example of the entrepreneurial and education technology opportunities available in the state.
Work Perks Galore
While landing a great job is key, many Iowa employers also offer amazing benefits. For example, some allow for hybrid or remote working positions so their employees can spend less of their workday commuting. These options are especially attractive to working parents who might need the extra time to drop their child off at school or run essential errands.
Also beneficial for working parents is Iowa’s new Child Care Business Incentive Grant Program. Launched in 2022, the grant aims to provide $25 million to build or expand child care throughout Iowa and support partnerships between employers and child care facilities.
Dr. Sarah Gingrich, who operates a dental practice in Dysart, knows firsthand the importance of child care to working parents. She and her husband rely on Little Knights Learning Center, which expanded with the assistance of an Iowa Child Care Challenge Grant.
“You hear (about) a shortage of people working,” Gingrich says. “Everyone’s short-staffed. Some of that’s child care. If there’s not affordable child care, that is going to affect the workforce.”
To further help parents stay employed, Iowa became the first state back in January 2022 to create the “Best Place for Working Parents” designation, which recognizes employers that have family-friendly policies, including child care assistance.
Examples of companies investing in child care include Vermeer, Pella Corp. and Jefferson Telecom. Affordable and convenient high-quality child care is essential for working parents, says Jamie Daubendiek, general manager of Jefferson Telecom. “The central piece for our employees is to have quality child care.”
Ready to make your next career move? Click here to see why Iowa might be the right fit.
Low Cost of Living, High Quality of Life
Speaking of affordability, living in Iowa will not burden one’s wallet. According to U.S. News & World Report, Iowa ranks No. 4 among states when it comes to affordability, and it ranks No. 1 for opportunity when things like affordability, economic opportunity and equality are considered.
This lower cost of living is part of the reason residents can really thrive here, as it allows them to spend more of their money on things they desire. Plus, the quality of life is superb.
“This is part of the reason why I moved back from Colorado with my family. The 10,000-foot overview is Iowa has a strong tie to family values. They have a strong sense of community,” Nicol says. “The school systems are great, and (there are) just great outdoor activities. There’s always something across the state that kind of brings the communities together in a fun, family-oriented sense. It’s awesome.”
Consider Choo-Choosing the Remote Life Here
As remote working has climbed in popularity over the last few years, Iowa has made its way onto many people’s radars. Its flourishing and diverse communities, welcoming residents, affordable housing options and wide-open spaces generate an appealing lifestyle like no other, and many remote workers are jumping at the chance to relocate and bring their jobs with them.
One community that has seen an influx of remote workers – not to mention entrepreneurs – is Mount Ayr, a rural city in southwest Iowa with a population of roughly 2,000 people.
“Many of the people who are working remote or in a hybrid environment are the same people getting involved in local leadership roles,” says Molly Murphy, a Mount Ayr resident who has worked remotely for San Jose-based tech giant Cisco for 10 years.
“It shows that you can explore career options that aren’t exclusively tied to rural Iowa, and, at the same time, you can love and embrace what it means to live in a small community.”
Originally from the surrounding area, Murphy moved back to Mount Ayr from Chicago with her husband in 2012 after being away for college and her career since 2000. Today, they have two young boys, and they love the lifestyle Mount Ayr offers.
“I was recently talking with a colleague who was astounded by how Mount Ayr is like a real-life Hallmark movie,” Murphy says. “They live in the San Jose area, and a studio apartment costs more than a four-bedroom home in Mount Ayr. Here, we have affordable living, lively community events and experiences, and most of all, you are surrounded by people who care. I think it’s that balance of what are your life priorities and how can you achieve as many as possible? I found my balance in Mount Ayr.”
Andrew Iannotta, another remote worker in Mount Ayr, relocated from Syracuse, New York, with his wife and three children in 2021. He serves as the senior manager of operations for UnitedHealthcare.
Back in 2021, he and his family visited Mount Ayr over Memorial Day weekend. They immediately fell in love with the community.
“Mount Ayr is such a rarity. I’ve been to a lot of places. My work sent me to travel. I’ve been across the country,” Iannotta says. “There is a unique character about Mount Ayr, where there is such an intentional care for the community that surrounds you. … Everybody just kind of knows everybody.”
– Lindsey Hyde contributed to this article.
Get to Know Iowa
Want to learn more about living and working in Iowa? Check out the latest edition of Livability This is Iowa.