5 Cities With the Happiest Workers

  • By Quentin Fottrell, Marketwatch
  • July 09, 2014

top 5 cities

The employment situation is looking up and, according to new research from career website Glassdoor, some cities are doing better than others in terms of the happiness of workers and the prospect of being hired. The U.S. housing market created 217,000 nonfarm jobs in May, making it the fourth consecutive month hiring has exceeded 200,000 jobs, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data found. And with 8.7 million jobs recovered since the Great Recession, some employees have a lot to smile about.

But first, the bad news: The bottom five cities for employees were: Phoenix, Tampa, Fla., Las Vegas, Denver and Pittsburgh. One theory: “Most of them don’t have a major multinational company headquartered there,” says Scott Dobroski, career trends analyst at Glassdoor. And New York, the city that never sleeps, is also a city where people never (or rarely) stop working, he adds. The Big Apple only rated No. 28 on the list of 50 metro areas. “People complained about long hours and long commutes,” he says.

“One not surprising result is that employees are more satisfied in metro areas with very low unemployment,” says Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “These cities have unemployment at least one percentage point below the national average.” And all of Glassdoor’s five most popular cities for employee satisfaction are also on the 10 highest ranking cities for social mobility, according to a separate survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Washington, D.C.

The cities on Glassdoor’s list — particularly Washington, San Jose and San Francisco — are also among the top five cities with the highest rate of college graduates, according to the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. “The companies listed are all highly-desirable employers who would get lots of hyper-talented, highly educated people,” says Erin Cumberworth, a sociologist at Stanford University who has studied inequality across American cities. “Job growth in the U.S. is highest for the lowest-quality and the highest-quality jobs, with middle-quality jobs disappearing.”

But without further ado, here are the top 5 cities to work in based on reviews posted on Glassdoor’s site:

No. 1: San Jose, CA
“San Jose is recognized as a global technology hub,” Dobroski says. Google, Stanford University and e-commerce site eBay were among the highest rated companies in that city. One employee in Mountain View, Calif. told Glassdoor, “Google has done an amazing job to create a community of ranging diversity with similar goals.” Of course, it also serves its staff gourmet food and offers free transportation. Property investors have noticed the growing wealth: San Jose is one of the top five markets for house-flipping, according to real estate data company CoreLogic.

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