The Best Cities for Jobs: How to Decide If They’re Right for You
If you're looking for a good job and you're willing to move to get it, you probably want to know which cities have the most opportunity.
Glassdoor tackled that question in a recent report, and the result was a list of the 25 best cities for jobs. To arrive at a "Glassdoor Job Score" for each metropolitan area, analysts considered these factors:
- Ratio of job openings to population (ease of getting hired)
- Ratio of median salary to median home value (cost of living)
- Reviews of employers by local employees (job satisfaction)
That's a good start, but you might also want to consider these two factors:
- Your own lifestyle needs and desires
- Number of job openings that fit your personal qualifications
If you're going to include job satisfaction in the score, you have to be satisfied with the place where you have to live for the job. And having plenty of jobs is great, but more important is whether there are plenty for you.
So with these additional factors in mind, let's look at how to determine the best cities for your job.
Start With the List
Here are the top 10 cities for jobs, according to Glassdoor:
- Raleigh, NC
- Kansas City, MO
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Austin, TX
- Seattle, WA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- San Jose, CA
- Louisville, KY
- San Antonio, TX
- Washington, D.C.
You might want to look over the whole list of 25 and dig into the details. You'll see, for example, that Raleigh has more than 24,000 job openings, a median base salary of $50,950, a median home value of $198,400 and a job satisfaction rating of 3.3 on a scale of 1 to 5.
But what if you're a geologist or medical technician? Doing a job search for "geologist" on Glassdoor produces five postings for Raleigh, but 118 for Houston, Texas (number 21). Meanwhile, Chicago (number 20) has 1,041 openings for a medical technician versus 446 in Raleigh. So you might want to…
Determine Where There Are Good Jobs for You
Clearly the best city for you might have something to do with what kind of job you're looking for. So use the list as a place to start, but then do a job search for each of the 25 cities, for each of the positions you're qualified for and want.
Be careful not to search terms that are too closely related or you'll be double-counting some job openings. For example, if you search "restaurant manager" and "bar manager," you might get many of the same listings.
Tally up the total openings for jobs you searched in each city. Based on these results, you can cut down the list of 25 cities to the five or 10 best options for the type of jobs you're seeking. You might narrow the list down further by looking at where the jobs seem to pay the most. Then you can…
Determine Where You Want to Live and Work
Once you have five or 10 good prospects, you have to decide which city has the most positive non-job-related benefits for you. If you want to ski on winter weekends, you don't want to be in Houston. Here are some other factors you might consider:
- Crime rates
- Universities and colleges
- Surrounding environment
- Demographics (average age of residents, educational level, etc.)
- Air quality
You can get all of this information and much more from City-Data. Just click a state and find the city on the list. You can also go to the City-Data Forum to see what current residents have to say about a city and view photos of the surrounding area.
If you have kids, you’ll want information about the local school system. Find ratings and parent reviews by entering a zip code in the form at Great Schools.
If you'll be buying a home, go to Realtor.com, search by city name and then refine your search using various criteria. Click "Map View" to see the results laid out on a map of the area. You'll be able to quickly spot where you can afford to live.
Whether you're buying or renting, use Google Maps to check out the neighborhoods where you might be living. Click "Street View" and "walk" the area for a while. Enter the address of potential employers to see where you might be walking for lunch.
With this bit of additional research you'll soon have a personalized list of the few best cities for jobs for you.
Your Turn: Are you ready to make a move to find a better place to work and live? Which are the best cities for jobs for you?
Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).