The Best Cities to Grow Your Career

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 03-17-2016 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    The Best Cities to Grow Your Career
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    The Best Cities to Grow Your Career

    Workers today are looking for more than fringe benefits and comfortable salaries: A vibrant metro area is a big selling point for top tech talent.
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    Upwardly Mobile
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    Upwardly Mobile

    67% of workers would consider relocating for a job, and 37% believe such a move would improve their career prospects.
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    Top Considerations in Relocating for Work
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    Top Considerations in Relocating for Work

    Higher salary: 88%, Lower cost of living: 61%, Proximity to family and friends: 39%
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    Top Career Cities: Seattle (Overall Ranking of 56.7)
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    Top Career Cities: Seattle (Overall Ranking of 56.7)

    Tech giants such as Microsoft and Amazon have transformed Seattle into a tech magnet. When Amazon finishes its headquarters project, its employment capacity will reach 30,000 in a city with 635,000 people.
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    Top Career Cities: Boston (53.4)
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    Top Career Cities: Boston (53.4)

    With Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University and MIT located here, Boston is one of the most educated cities anywhere: 46.5% of residents has a bachelor's degree or higher.
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    Top Career Cities: San Francisco Bay Area (51.6)
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    Top Career Cities: San Francisco Bay Area (51.6)

    Driven by the top names in tech—Google, Oracle, Facebook, Twitter—San Francisco's labor force is the wealthiest of all cities on this list, earning $80,643 per capita.
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    Top Career Cities: Washington, D.C. (51.2)
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    Top Career Cities: Washington, D.C. (51.2)

    The nation's capital weathered the last recession relatively well compared to other major cities, and offers enviable government and private-sector job opportunities for tech professionals.
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    Top Career Cities: Raleigh (50.9)
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    Top Career Cities: Raleigh (50.9)

    A prime Research Triangle city, Raleigh has emerged as a high-tech hub, with IBM, Cisco, Red Hat and EMC establishing operations there.
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    Top Career Cities: Dallas (50.2)
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    Top Career Cities: Dallas (50.2)

    Talk about a nice perk: Like everyone else in the state of Texas, IT employees pay no state tax in Dallas.
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    Top Career Cities: Salt Lake City (49.8)
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    Top Career Cities: Salt Lake City (49.8)

    The smallest city in the index, Salt Lake City has the lowest unemployment rate (3.5%). IT pros who love the great outdoors will find plenty of skiing, hiking, biking and fishing options here.
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    Top Career Cities: Denver (49.2)
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    Top Career Cities: Denver (49.2)

    Another great town for outdoor enthusiasts, Denver remains home to a number of traditional companies (Molson Coors Brewing, Western Union) while attracting plenty of tech start-ups.
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    Top Career Cities: Houston (49)
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    Top Career Cities: Houston (49)

    In 2014, Houston grew by 3.5%--ranking No. 1 on the America's Fastest-Growing Cities list from Forbes. Thriving companies in industries such as energy/oil/gas, aeronautics, transportation and healthcare offer many opportunities for tech pros.
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    Top Career Cities: Des Moines (48.1)
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    Top Career Cities: Des Moines (48.1)

    Surprised? Don't be, as more and more companies (such as Facebook, with its local data center) are setting up locations here to take advantage of relatively low business costs, a favorable tax situation and educated workforce.
 

As a CIO, you probably spend much time thinking about ways to land—and retain—top tech talent. The competition for highly qualified IT workers is only getting stiffer, after all. Yet, aside from selling candidates on salary and bonuses, fringe benefits and career development possibilities, how often do you showcase your local city? And how much homework have you done with respect to finding out what today's pros are seeking from the metro areas in which they work? To lend insight, Robert Half has recently come out with its "Career City Index," which includes the following list of the top 10 cities. The index was compiled based upon research from The Economist Intelligence Unit, ranking 25 U.S. cities on four major categories: career prospects, quality of life, cost of living and cultural diversity. Taken together, it's safe to say that these are places in which things are happening, whether that means a growing tech employment base and/or influx of high-profile IT employers; a driven and educated workforce; a lively local downtown scene; convenient "smart transportation" options; or nearby access to lakes, mountains, beaches, etc. "Cities today are brimming with economic opportunities, distinctive communities and diverse connections to the globalized world, acting as central hubs for employment, government, culture, commerce and artistic opportunities," according to the report. "Industrial warehouses are increasingly appropriated for more modern uses; transportation is being redesigned for 21st-century planning; and infrastructure changes enhance density, functionality and convenience …" Robert Half has also come up with survey findings which summarize how 1,000 workers feel about relocating to a new city for a job, and we've included that here.

 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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