Deciding where to lay the foundation for a long and prosperous career can be a tall order, especially for recent graduates entering the job market for the first time. After all, there are many factors — job-market saturation, housing affordability and commuter-friendliness, for instance — to consider about each prospective area.
Fortunately, new graduates are entering the market at a good time, as the unemployment rate for people ages 20 through 24 is currently 6.9%. The job market has made a huge recovery from the damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic, and employers plan to hire 31.6% more graduates from the Class of 2022 than they did from the Class of 2021.
In order to help new graduates start their search for a career, WalletHub compared the relative market strength and overall livability of more than 180 U.S. cities to help recent college graduates find the best cradles for their budding careers. We examined each city based on 27 key metrics that range from the availability of entry-level jobs to monthly average starting salary to housing affordability.
Table of Contents
Main FindingsAsk The ExpertsMethodology
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Best Cities to Start a Career
|Overall Rank||City||Total Score||Professional Opportunities||Quality of Life|
|1||Salt Lake City, UT||65.12||4||5|
|19||St. Louis, MO||56.35||9||70|
|22||San Francisco, CA||55.36||50||11|
|23||Overland Park, KS||55.26||35||19|
|31||St. Petersburg, FL||53.37||22||71|
|32||San Jose, CA||53.36||39||46|
|33||Grand Rapids, MI||53.35||44||37|
|42||Fort Lauderdale, FL||51.80||42||65|
|45||Des Moines, IA||51.56||55||50|
|48||Rapid City, SD||51.32||46||58|
|49||South Burlington, VT||51.27||67||38|
|50||Colorado Springs, CO||51.09||63||48|
|55||Sioux Falls, SD||50.43||75||35|
|57||Fort Worth, TX||50.31||47||91|
|58||West Valley City, UT||50.18||53||77|
|62||Kansas City, MO||49.78||56||89|
|69||San Diego, CA||49.00||98||30|
|76||Oklahoma City, OK||47.96||91||61|
|77||St. Paul, MN||47.89||112||31|
|79||San Antonio, TX||47.74||92||64|
|81||Virginia Beach, VA||47.42||106||47|
|83||Newport News, VA||47.32||34||168|
|85||Cedar Rapids, IA||47.10||97||67|
|89||Fort Smith, AR||46.81||32||169|
|92||Las Vegas, NV||46.43||103||69|
|97||Jersey City, NJ||45.86||134||43|
|113||New Haven, CT||43.96||141||80|
|117||Fort Wayne, IN||43.72||90||155|
|118||Rancho Cucamonga, CA||43.71||121||102|
|122||El Paso, TX||43.32||146||85|
|123||Port St. Lucie, FL||43.29||66||176|
|124||Little Rock, AR||43.26||100||143|
|133||New Orleans, LA||42.22||139||117|
|134||Santa Rosa, CA||41.90||130||128|
|140||Baton Rouge, LA||41.24||152||114|
|142||Los Angeles, CA||41.20||155||109|
|145||Grand Prairie, TX||41.01||124||158|
|148||San Bernardino, CA||40.76||120||170|
|149||Santa Ana, CA||40.60||147||141|
|152||Chula Vista, CA||40.05||149||152|
|153||Las Cruces, NM||39.93||175||76|
|155||Huntington Beach, CA||39.38||168||95|
|164||Garden Grove, CA||38.42||176||100|
|165||Cape Coral, FL||38.35||159||153|
|166||Corpus Christi, TX||38.04||163||137|
|169||Moreno Valley, CA||37.53||153||177|
|171||Pearl City, HI||37.45||173||131|
|174||Long Beach, CA||37.24||172||138|
|175||Pembroke Pines, FL||37.08||165||154|
|179||Santa Clarita, CA||34.42||178||151|
|180||New York, NY||34.32||180||147|
|182||North Las Vegas, NV||32.90||179||175|
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.
Ask The Experts
Choosing a career path can be just as challenging as finding a place in which to settle down. To help job seekers with such decisions, we turned to a panel of experts for their thoughts on the following key questions:
- What can city policymakers and corporations do to attract and retain recent graduates?
- Do you have any tips for turning an entry-level job into a long, successful career?
- What is the biggest career mistake that young people make?
- In choosing a city to start a career, what are the top 5 indicators?
- How has the pandemic affected the entry-level job market?
[expert_gallery link="file" columns="3" ids="105662,105663,105664,105665,105666,105667,105668"]
In order to determine the best cities in which to launch a career, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across two key dimensions, “Professional Opportunities” and “Quality of Life.” Our sample considers only city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.
We evaluated the two dimensions using 27 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for job-market entrants.
We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
Professional Opportunities – Total Points: 70
- Availability of Entry-Level Jobs: Double Weight (~9.66 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of entry-level jobs per 100,000 residents aged 16 and older.
- 4+ Star Company Jobs per Total People in Labor Force: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of full time job opportunities at companies with 4+ stars on Glassdoor.com per the total number of people in the labor force.
- Monthly Average Starting Salary: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
- Annual Job Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for population growth.
- Median-Income Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
- Share of Workers in Poverty: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
- Workforce Diversity: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
- Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
- Underemployment Rate: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
- Employer-Based Retirement Access & Participation: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: It’s important for employees to have access to an employer-based retirement plan.
Workers in the United States accumulate the vast majority of their retirement savings through employer-based plans, but large gaps in coverage exist. Pew’s analysis shows that more than 30 million workers report they do not have access to an employer-based retirement plan.
The analysis focuses on full-time, full-year, private sector wage and salary workers, ages 18 to 64.
- Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: This metric is based on The Indeed Job Happiness Index 2016.
- Career Counselors per 1,000 Workers: Half Weight (~2.41 Points)
- Entrepreneur-Friendliness: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Large Cities to Start a Business” ranking.
- MSA GDP Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.83 Points)
Quality of Life – Total Points: 30
- Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
- Average Length of Work Week (in Hours): Half Weight (~1.15 Points)
- Commuter-Friendly Jobs: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of jobs accessible by a 30-minute transit ride per total civilian employed population.
- Average Commute Time (in Minutes): Half Weight (~1.15 Points)
- Share of Population Aged 25 to 34: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
- Share of Millennial Newcomers: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
- Share of Adults Aged 25 & Older with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
- Projected Population Growth (2046 vs. 2016): Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
- Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
- Fun-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Most Fun Cities in America” ranking.
- Family-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “” ranking.
- Singles-Friendliness: Full Weight (~2.31 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “” ranking.
- Percentage of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated: Double Weight (~4.62 Points)
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indeed.com, Glassdoor, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Council for Community & Economic Research, United States Conference of Mayors, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Center for Neighborhood Technology and WalletHub research.
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- London (Population 9.0 million) ...
- San Francisco (Population 870,000+) ...
- New York (Population 8.8 million) ...
- Singapore (Population 5.45 million) ...
- Berlin (Population 3.67 million) ...
- Toronto (Population 3.0 million) ...
- Stockholm (Population 975,000+) ...
- Sydney (Population 5.3 million)
- Raleigh, North Carolina. ...
- Tampa, Florida. ...
- Seattle, Washington. Overall Score: 67.8. ...
- Boise, Idaho. Overall Score: 66.5. ...
- Phoenix, Arizona. Overall Score: 66.3. ...
- Denver, Colorado. Overall Score: 64.0. ...
- Salt Lake City, Utah. Overall Score: 59.3. ...
- Portland, Oregon. Overall Score: 59.1.
- Colorado. Colorado earned the top spot on our list of states with the best job market. ...
- Massachusetts. Massachusetts is one of the states with the most job opportunities and best weekly wages. ...
- New York. ...
- 4. California. ...
- Minnesota. ...
- Virginia. ...
- Washington. ...
|1||Groundskeeper or Landscaping Assistant||$31,730|
|2||Taxi Driver or Chauffeur||$32,320|
|3||Virtual Customer Service Representative||$35,830|
- Overall rating: 95.1/100.
- Stability: 95.
- Healthcare: 83.3.
- Culture & environment: 98.6.
- Education: 100.
- Infrastructure: 100. Vienna, Austria, ranked first as the best place to live in the world. It held the position in 2018 and 2019 but slipped to 12th place in 2021.
- London. Sitting at number one for technology readiness, city gateway, and economic clout in PwC's report, London is one of the hottest cities for job opportunities today.
- New York. ...
- Singapore. ...
- Toronto. ...
- San Francisco. ...
- Paris. ...
- Stockholm. ...
- Hong Kong. ...
- New Zealand.
- South Korea.
- The Czech Republic.
|Rank||Country||Global Peace Level|
|Overall Rank*||State||Total Score|
The data found that there are just eight states with more unemployed workers than job openings: Hawaii, California, Connecticut, New York, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey and Nevada.
- Massachusetts: $72,940.
- New York: $70,460.
- Washington: $68,740.
- California: $68,510.
- New Jersey: $67,120.
- Connecticut: $66,130.
- Maryland: $65,900.
- Alaska: $63,480.
- Survey Taker. There are tons of online sites looking to hire people to take surveys for money. ...
- Online Shopper. ...
- Line Stand-In. ...
- Rideshare Driver. ...
- Librarian. ...
- Food Taster. ...
- Professional Cuddler. ...
- Hotel Sleep Tester.
- Patrol Officer.
- Executive Assistant.
- Sales Representative.
- Flight Attendant.
- Wind Turbine Technician.
- Entry-level laboratory technician. Average salary: $46,358 per year. ...
- Human resources assistant. Average salary: $46,580 per year. ...
- Research assistant. Average salary: $46,713 per year. ...
- Medical assistant. ...
- Firefighter. ...
- Junior graphic designer. ...
- Auditor. ...
- Administrative assistant.
Copenhagen is on the top of the cleanest cities in the world, according to a study conducted by The Economist. This Scandinavian capital has been voted “most liveable” for four years in a row.
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anyone looking for a fresh start will find a kindred spirit in Pittsburgh itself. ...
- Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. ...
- Salt Lake City, Utah. ...
- Jacksonville, Florida. ...
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ...
- Cleveland, Ohio. ...
- Denver, Colorado. ...
- Nashville, Tennessee.
- Finland - 99.06.
- Denmark - 98.13.
- Norway - 96.75.
- Belgium - 96.53.
- Sweden - 96.15.
- Switzerland - 94.40.
- Netherlands - 93.69.
- France - 92.08.
The best places in the world to work:
- Germany (+1)
- Bahrain (+10)
- UK (+6)
- UAE (-)
- Switzerland (-2)
- Sweden (-)
- Singapore (-2)
- USA (+3)
San Francisco is the highest-paying city in the world according to Deutsche Bank research. With company giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Uber, Salesforce all paying healthy six-figure salaries on average, it should come to no surprise that not only is San Francisco the highest-paying city in the world.
- Texas - 5.77%
- Nevada - 5.65%
- Florida - 4.87%
- Georgia - 4.66%
- New York - 4.57%
- New Jersey - 4.45%
- California - 4.38%
- Illinois - 4.06%
- South Africa.
- Costa Rica.
An Antigua and Barbuda passport offers you visa-free travel in 151 nations across the world. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the easiest countries to get citizenship by investment.Which citizenship is best? ›
French nationality remained the best in the world according to the 2018 edition of the Quality of Nationality Index, earning a score of 83.5% out of a possible 100%, fractionally ahead of Germany and the Netherlands.Which country is best to live in future? ›
- Singapore. #1 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- Japan. #2 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- United States. #3 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- China. #4 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- South Korea. #5 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- Germany. #6 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- Australia. #7 in Forward Thinking Rankings. ...
- Switzerland. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Germany. #2 in Best Countries Overall. ...
- Canada. ...
- United States. ...
- Sweden. ...
- Japan. ...
- Australia. ...
- United Kingdom.
- Alaska. Alaska has an employment rate of 93.9%, the lowest in the United States. ...
- Mississippi. ...
- District of Columbia. ...
- West Virginia. ...
|States (most overworked to least overworked)||Average hours worked||Score|
And the Winner Is…..
Iowa is the #1 best place to live in the United States. According to the report, the Hawkeye State ranked No. 1 in infrastructure, No. 3 in Healthcare, No.
Utah has the No. 1 economy in the nation, according to U.S. News' 2021 Best States rankings. Learn more about Utah. Colorado has the second-best economy among all states, according to U.S. News' 2021 Best States rankings.Which state has the most opportunities? ›
|Rank||State||Overall Opportunity Score %|
Colorado ranks first in the nation for employment. Utah – No. 1 in the economy category overall – places second in this subcategory, followed by Massachusetts, Idaho and Virginia. Learn more about the Best States for employment below.What is the lowest paying state? ›
The two states with the lowest minimum wage are Georgia and Wyoming, both sitting at $5.15; however, employers in Georgia and Wyoming that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must still pay the $7.25 Federal minimum wage.What state has the lowest average salary? ›
- Mississippi - $41,776.
- West Virginia - $44,947.
- Kentucky - $45,966.
- New Mexico - $46,325.
- Alabama - $46,957.
- Arkansas - $47,274.
- South Carolina - $47,458.
- Idaho - $48,591.
The highest paying career in the world is a Neurosurgeon. This is a highly trained surgeon that has chosen to specialise in, diagnose and surgically treat disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system.What state has friendliest people? ›
- Minnesota. The term “Minnesota nice” lives up to its name. ...
- Tennessee. Tennessee is full of the famous southern charm and hospitality. ...
- South Carolina. ...
- Texas. ...
- Wyoming. ...
- Indiana. ...
- Colorado. ...
According to the report, the best state to live in the U.S. is Massachusetts. That isn't the only northern state to appear near the top of the rankings. New Jersey, New York, Idaho, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all made the top 10.What states have the best future? ›
The results are now in from our Startups Cities Index, and we can confirm that Sheffield is officially the best place for work in the UK in 2022.
London is undoubtedly the UK city that offers more career opportunities. The vivid economic, cultural, and social activity of the capital would have helped London to have high score in most of the indicators.Which area in UK has most job opportunities? ›
- Glasgow. Glasgow is one of the most popular UK cities with the highest graduate salaries and great employment opportunities. ...
- London. With an average graduate salary of £25,909 per year, London is not only a top city to live in the UK but also in the world. ...
- Sheffield. ...
Job hunting in London can be an easy task, but it's a competitive market. This means that you need to stand out from the crowd. Some jobs are easier to find than others, as industries have different requirements and expectations, so make sure you do your research before applying for jobs.What is the cheapest city to live in England? ›
For the third year running, the town of Shildon in County Durham retains pole position as the most affordable town in the UK, with an average house price of £71,000.Which city in UK is best for living? ›
- London. As the capital of England, London is the largest city in the UK and has grown into one the biggest cities in all of Europe. ...
- Edinburgh. ...
- Birmingham. ...
- Manchester. ...
- Reading. ...
- Southampton. ...
- Glasgow. ...
- Medical Director – £103,637 per year.
- Neurosurgeon – £94,434 per year.
- Anaesthetist – £93,923 per year.
- Plastic Surgeon – £91,826 per year.
- Psychiatrist – £87,760 per year.
- Cardiologist – £79,421 per year.
- Director of Nursing – £72,243 per year.
- Clinical Director – £66,932 per year.
The 10 easiest places in the UK to get a local job.
|3||Rhondda, Cynon, Taf|
- Project manager. According to a recent report, 22 million new project management opportunities are predicted to emerge before 2027. ...
- Cybersecurity analyst. Cybersecurity is more important now than it has ever been. ...
- Cloud architect. ...
- Software developers. ...
- DevOps engineer.
Table 1 below shows the unadjusted claimant count unemployment data for August 2022 for the core cities. Birmingham has the highest claimant unemployment rate (11.4%) amongst the core cities and is well above the UK average (4.6%). Eight of the ten core cities saw an increase in claimant count unemployment last month.Which course has highest demand in UK? ›
- Civil Engineering.
- Mechanical Engineering.
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
- Design and Development Engineering.
- Production and Process Engineering.
- Programme and Software Engineering.
- Chemical Engineering.
The employment rate of London was 74.8 percent in 2021, which was higher than in England's metropolitan counties, which six major urban areas in the country.What are the highest paying jobs in the UK without a degree? ›
- Personal trainer. Average Salary – £27,000. ...
- Estate Agents. Average Salary – £21,500. ...
- Nutrition Coach. Average Salary – £26,797. ...
- Recruitment Consultant. Average Salary – £23,000. ...
- Pilates Instructors. ...
- FireFighter. ...
- Health & Wellbeing Coach. ...
- Police Officer.
- Re-examine and Apply Your Past Experience to the IT Industry. ...
- Earn Industry Certifications. ...
- Your Degree in Another Field May Be a Huge Asset. ...
- Be Open to Starting at the Bottom. ...
- Don't Forget the Power of Networking. ...
- Learn Relevant Tech Skills and Gain Experience.
- Learn about your anxiety. Learn how to recognise your symptoms and develop ways to handle them.
- Prepare and plan ahead. ...
- Know your limits. ...
- Ask for help. ...
- Set boundaries. ...
- Look after yourself. ...
- Find someone you can trust.