Where to look for work

As a follow up to Tuesday’s post about the success my NC State students had in finding work after graduation, it seems only fair to tell you that Raleigh, NC, is the number one city in the U.S. “for Jobs Right Now” according to research conducted by Glassdoor and published by Forbes a couple of weeks ago. The criteria for the rankings included the “ratio of available jobs to population, cost of living, and job satisfaction among residents.”

Raleigh’s population is listed as 1.3 million, but that’s really the total metropolitan area, which includes Durham and Chapel Hill and the surrounding towns. The number of available jobs was shown to be more than 24,000, the median base salary came in at just over $50,000, and the median home value was just under $200,000. All of those factors make it a highly desirable area and explain why the population has grown dramatically in the past two decades.

Other cities making it to the top ten were (in order)

Kansas City, Missouri

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Austin, Texas

Seattle, Washington

Salt Lake City, Utah

San Jose, California

Louisville, Kentucky

San Antonio, Texas

Washington, D.C.

The northeastern part of the U.S. is noticeably missing from the list (although, in fairness, Boston did come in at #15), and that reminds me that there’s more to choosing a place to live than the number of job openings and/or the cost of living. While those are certainly important factors, if you’re thinking of making a big move, you will also want to consider things such as

  • Weather—I can’t imagine any scenario where I would live in a part of the country where it snows more than it does in Raleigh, but I have family members who have always lived in western New York (and friends who live in Minnesota) who wouldn’t trade it for anything because they love snow and winter sports
  • Political climate—I’m pretty good at adapting to the fluctuations that have surrounded me since moving to Raleigh, but there are parts of the country where my beliefs would not fit in as well as they do here. Or where I wouldn’t want to have to try to adapt to the local politics.
  • Cultural opportunities—Easy access to museums, theater, live music, sporting events, art galleries, dance and other forms of artistic performance could be a determining factor for many people.
  • Availability of work for a partner or spouse.
  • Quality of the public school system (or availability of affordable private schools) for children.
  • Location vis-à-vis other family members.
  • Population density/traffic/availability of public transportation.

I think you’re starting to get the idea that there are a lot of factors that you need to consider when planning your job search. My book’s Step 2. Envision a satisfying worklife provides some tools for helping you sort through what’s important and gather data to help you make a decision.