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Job Seekers and the Cities That Motivate Them to Move, According to Glassdoor Study

A recent economic research study by recruiting site Glassdoor entitled Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It? offers insight about job search patterns based on a sample of 668,000 online job applications.  The survey was conducted during one week this past January covering the 40 largest metro areas in the US.

Key findings showed that more than a quarter (28.5 percent) of applications on Glassdoor were to jobs outside of an applicant's current metro area.  The top cities of choice as a relocation destination were San Francisco and New York City, while Providence, RI and San Jose, CA saw the largest percentage of applicants seeking to move away to another city.

Termed metro movers because of their willingness to move to different metro areas from their current location, the study found that 12.4 percent of them applied to jobs in San Francisco—a tech hub with job opportunities at companies such as Facebook and Salesforce.  New York City followed at 8.4 percent, San Jose at 6.9 percent, Los Angeles at 6.8 percent and Washington D.C. at 4.3 percent. The study clarifies that these large cities are magnets for applicants, but a portion are located nearby in smaller cities and towns.

"Our research shows that employers should think broader when it comes to their recruiting strategies, as the quality talent they want may not only be found in their local market, but across the country," said Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, who conducted the study.

The study also identified the cities having the largest percentage of applicants who are metro movers away, with college town of Providence, R.I. at the top with 52.2 percent. Three California cities were among the top five: San Jose at 47.6 percent, Riverside at 47.3 percent and Sacramento at 44.4 percent, respectively, as well as Baltimore with 45.6 percent.  Again, many are moving away from these cities, but are re-locating to a larger nearby city.

Other findings include:

  • Company culture as a stronger driving factor for people to move, than salary. With a Glassdoor rating of 1-star higher overall, a company is six times more likely to attract a candidate than a company offering $10,000 more in salary, but having a lower culture rating
  • Men are 3.3 percentage points more likely than women to move.
  • A job applicant is seven percentage points less likely to move with each passing decade that they age.

"This means employers must ramp-up their recruiting efforts for groups least likely to move – such as women or more senior workers – and have excellent culture, strong pay or benefits offerings," Chamberlain said.