- San Jose, California, topped Indeed's list of best cities for job seekers in 2019, followed by neighboring San Francisco as well as Boston; Birmingham, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee. Published June 13, the list ranked metropolitan areas based on which gave applicants the least competition for jobs, commanded the highest salaries, had the lowest unemployment rates and whose companies had earned the highest reviews on Indeed.
- Although located in Silicon Valley, where tech companies and jobs abound, the two highest-ranked cities faced talent shortages for tech workers and lower-paying jobs, according to Indeed, which attributed the problem in part to the high cost of housing. Salaries in the report were adjusted to the cost of living in metropolitan areas rather than which cities paid the highest wages. The top five cities ranked high in salaries because the cost of rent and goods fell below the national average, Indeed said. Birmingham had the highest adjusted salary score on the list, followed by Memphis, Tennessee; Cincinnati; Louisville, Kentucky; and Indianapolis.
- Nashville had the lowest unemployment rate of cities in the list, which Indeed attributed to strong growth from both tourism industry and in legal and finance jobs. Miami beat out several California cities for Indeed's highest score in the company reviews category.
Despite Indeed's rankings, Silicon Valley wages haven't always kept up with the high cost of housing in the area. The cost of living in the area was reportedly so high that 38% of tech workers in the San Francisco area were conducting searches for jobs outside the Valley, according to a 2017 Indeed report, up from 27% four years prior. At the time, Indeed said median monthly rent for a one-room apartment was $2,500 in San Jose and $3,000 in San Francisco.
In response to the high cost of living, San Francisco-based Zapier, a workflow automation startup, offered its staff $10,000 to put toward costs to "de-locate" from the city to other areas. Zapier CEO Wade Foster told media outlet SFGate that San Francisco had become too expensive for employees, including those with small families.
Some states and cities are keen on drawing remote workers with incentives. Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently announced it would offer such workers $10,000 in financial incentives and bonuses to move there. The news followed a similar announcement by Vermont. Remote work can be feasible given the right technological systems and tools, but HR might need to draft policies that set expectations on hours, reimbursements and other criteria.
Cities in general, are expensive places to live, and nearly 75% of workers in big cities in a recent Citrix Systems report said they would move elsewhere if they could perform their work just as well in another area. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to Citrix said the cost of living in cities was "crippling." Still, other reports show cities also provide what younger generations within the workforce say they want, including access to retail establishments and public transportation.