Study: The top 5 cities attracting the most out-of-area workers

Turns out that people have a habit of moving to certain cities for work. In fact, recent research from Glassdoor shows that San Francisco is the city in their analysis with the most workers from elsewhere at 12.4%.

Photo: Jörg Schubert via Flickr

Turns out that people have a habit of moving to certain cities for work. In fact, recent research from Glassdoor shows that San Francisco is the city in their analysis with the most workers seeking new employment from elsewhere.

Glassdoor analyzed more than 668,000 online job applications over the course of a week in January that people started on the platform. The applications were for the 40 largest U.S. metro areas, which Glassdoor defines as a “large city with at least 10,000 in population, plus all nearby areas that are socially and economically linked, as defined by commute-to-work patterns.”

Top 5 cities attracting the most workers from outside the area

Here are the 5 most popular cities on the list, with the percentage of people who applied from out of town, in addition to the most popular places they’re from:

  • San Francisco: 12.4% – mostly moving from San Jose, Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento and Chicago
  • New York City: 8.4% – mostly moving from Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago
  • San Jose: 6.9% – mostly moving from San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Diego
  • Los Angeles: 6.8% – mostly moving from Riverside, CA, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose
  • Washington, D.C.: 4.3% – mostly moving from Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago

The research found that overall, an average of 28.5% of applications started on Glassdoor were to locations “outside of an applicant’s current metro.”


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Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, who carried out the research, commented on the findings:

“Picking up your life and moving for a job is a major decision. But in a job market where workers are in high demand and many employers are eager to hire, the employers who understand where talent is heading and what influences them to consider a move will have a recruiting advantage,” Chamberlain said. “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.”

Top 5 cities in which workers are looking to leave

Here are the cities with the highest percentage of job applications seeking positions in other cities.

  • Providence, RI: 52.2%
  • San Jose, CA: 47.6%
  • Riverside, CA: 47.3%
  • Baltimore, MD: 45.6%
  • Sacramento, CA: 44.4%

The research also touched on the type of people who are moving away for new positions:

“Younger workers are more likely to be metro movers. On average, the older a worker, the less likely they’re willing to move for a job. In fact, each one higher age group (which corresponds to roughly 10 years) predicts candidates will be 7 percentage points less likely to be a metro mover,” the report reads. “For employers who need to hire experienced candidates from other areas, recruiters should plan to actively recruit these candidates — and be prepared to compensate more senior movers with either premium offers or have excellent workplace culture.”

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.