25 best cities for jobs in 2020

Mid-sized cities are moving up the ranks, according to the Glassdoor list.

Raleigh, NC topped Glassdoor's list of the 25 best cities for jobs in 2020, followed by Pittsburgh, PA and Indianapolis, IN. On average, 28.5% of job applications are to a new metro area, meaning that almost 30% of applications on Glassdoor in a typical week are from job seekers hoping to move to a new metropolitan area, said Amanda Stansell, a senior economic research analyst at Glassdoor.

Raleigh received the number one ranking because of affordability in terms of cost of living, strong hiring opportunities and high level of reported job satisfaction, Stansell said.

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The city is part of the "Research Triangle," which provides a healthy number of job openings in education and feeds the local talent supply with university graduates, she said. Education, healthcare, and tech are among the industries contributing to the over 52,000 open jobs in Raleigh, according to Stansell.

Although the list includes all types of jobs, tech jobs continue to spread outside of major hubs into more mid-sized cities, which also gave Raleigh a boost, she said. For example, tech companies like IBM are hiring for a wide range of open positions in Raleigh, creating opportunities for workers in a relatively affordable city, Stansell said.

"The majority of the cities on this year's full list are found in the Midwest and south, with very few on or near the west coast," she noted. "Many of these mid-sized cities like Pittsburgh and Austin are growing tech hubs with a healthy number of open jobs and much more affordable housing prices compared to bigger tech hubs like NYC and San Francisco."  

Ohio is home to three best cities for jobs, more than any other state, according to the report. Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus are all relatively affordable cities to live in, and each have over 35,000 open jobs on Glassdoor, Stansell said.  

Moving up

Metropolitan areas like Raleigh and Pittsburgh continue to rank higher when it comes to hiring opportunities, cost of living, and job satisfaction--a trend Glassdoor has seen in years before "as more unexpected, mid-sized cities surface to the top of the list," Stansell said.

San Francisco has appeared on the list in past years, but when Glassdoor factored in the median base salary of $85,611 and a median home value of over one million dollars, "you can see why the major tech hub didn't crack the top 25 this year," she said.

"The 2020 results are evidence for job seekers that you don't need to limit yourself to expensive cities like New York City or San Francisco to find a great job in an affordable city," Stansell added.

Besides San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles also did not make this year's list,  mainly because of the high cost of living associated with these cities, she said. While those metro areas have some of the highest salaries and are home to a wide variety of tech companies, the home values in these cities generally outpace the earning potential, Stansell said.

No newcomers

While none of the cities in the top 25 are newcomers to Glassdoor's Best Cities list, four cities bounced back this year, she said.

"When we last revealed the Best Cities in 2018, we didn't see San Jose, CA, Milwaukee, WI, Austin, TX, and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX crack the top 25," Stansell said. "But this year, San Jose and Austin are two competitive tech hubs that reappear on the list in 2020 with highly satisfied workers."

Glassdoor's top 10 best cities for jobs are:

1. Raleigh, NC

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.5

  • Job Openings: 52,412

  • Median Base Salary: $55,252

  • Median Home Value: $279,999

 2. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 48,811

  • Median Base Salary: $50,734

  • Median Home Value: $157,367

3. Indianapolis, IN

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 45,331

  • Median Base Salary: $50,268

  • Median Home Value: $178,836

 4. Memphis, TN

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 23,268

  • Median Base Salary: $48,336

  • Median Home Value: $150,648

 5. Cleveland, OH

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 37,073 

  • Median Base Salary: $49,719 

  • Median Home Value: $156,590

 6. St. Louis, MO

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 59,131

  • Median Base Salary: $50,229 

  • Median Home Value: $176,719

 7. Hartford, CT

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 28,842

  • Median Base Salary: $60,320  

  • Median Home Value: $234,426

 8. Birmingham, AL

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.5

  • Job Openings: 21,208 

  • Median Base Salary: $45,000 

  • Median Home Value: $153,702

 9. Cincinnati, OH

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.4

  • Job Openings: 45,638  

  • Median Base Salary: $50,268 

  • Median Home Value: $183,297

 10. Detroit, MI

  • Job Satisfaction Rating (out of 5): 3.3

  • Job Openings: 71,137 

  • Median Base Salary: $55,126 

  • Median Home Value: $177,741

Glassdoor's Best Cities for Jobs report identifies US metros with the highest overall Glassdoor City Score, based on a comparison of the 50 most populated US metros. Each region's Glassdoor City Score, based on a 5-point scale (5.0=best city for a job, 1.0=worst city for a job), is determined by weighing three factors equally: hiring opportunity, cost of living, and job satisfaction. Hiring opportunity is the ratio of active job openings to population, the company said. Cost of living is the ratio of median base salary to median home value.

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