It’s not about money — most employees, particularly young workers, relocate for company culture.
You couldn’t pay most workers to leave their home cities — but a great workplace culture could draw them in.
More than 1 in 4 workers (28.5%) looking for jobs on Glassdoor.com are eyeing positions outside of their current metro, according to a report released by the job search site on Friday. Glassdoor analyzed a sample of more than 668,000 online job applications started on its site in one week last January. And it found that people were six times more likely to relocate for an employer that’s been well-reviewed on Glassdoor than they are for positions offering an extra $10,000 higher base salary.
Company culture is key. Millennials are willing to take a $7,600 pay cut on average for better “quality of life” at work, according to a Fidelity report, such as paid leave, flexible hours and the option to work remotely. That partially explains why they are more inclined to chase a dream job, with 86% of millennials reporting in a 2016 Kelton Global consultancy survey that they are game to move for work, compared to 77% of Americans in general.
“People spend most of their lives working, so people do want to enjoy where they work, or enjoy the job itself, and really believe in what they’re doing and who they’re working with everyday,” Glassdoor career trends expert Alison Sullivan told Moneyish. “And a couple of things that really drive great culture are transparency and communication; making sure the company mission is known and celebrated; and career opportunities. People want to be able to grow their careers.”
Glassdoor’s ”Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It?” also found that men in tech and engineering fields are more inclined to pack up for a new position, while women and workers in retail, food service and some blue collar jobs, prefer to stay put.
Adding about 10 years to an applicant’s age made them 7% less likely to move. “Younger workers’ lives are more pliable,” said Sullivan. “You’re still in the ‘get as much experience as you can’ mode, and you are less likely to have a family, or to have maybe taken root in a community. You are more able to pick up and move.”
And after controlling for job titles, education and age, men were 3.3% more likely to apply for jobs in another city than women were. A 2014 study suggested this is because women often work in fields such as teaching, nursing and accounting that have job openings everywhere, whereas male-dominated fields in tech, engineering or politics require moving to hubs. So employers looking to diversify their hiring pool and to attract more female candidates may need to up their workplace culture, benefits packages and salary to lure in these applicants.
On the industry side, tech and engineering workers tend to be young and highly educated, and they have specialized skill sets, which makes them readier to move. Plus, as mentioned above, jobs in tech, engineering and media are often clustered in certain cities, which requires workers rising in those fields to relocate. People in blue collar gigs, food service and retail, on the other hand, can often find positions in the local labor market. And their salaries tend to fall below the U.S. median salary of $51,975 per year, so it’s hard to justify moving for a job you can probably find in your own city. Bartenders were the least likely of all workers to move for a new position.
So where are these workers with wanderlust heading? Despite their sky-high costs of living, San Francisco and New York City topped Glassdoor’s top 10 destinations for metro movers. The City by the Bay attracted attracted 12.4% of all applications by job seekers looking to move cities in this sample because the tech hub counts giants like Facebook, Salesforces, Lyft, Uber, Airbnb and Yelp, as well as Walmart’s e-commerce HQ, which attract candidates. And it has also seen both the fastest job growth and the biggest wage growth in the past year, Glassdoor has noted.
The Big Apple was in second place thanks to finance and media giants like JP Morgan Chase, NBC Universal and Goldman Sachs, as well as tech giants like Google, IBM and Spotify. And San Jose (a.k.a. Silicon Valley, housing Apple and Amazon) was third.
Top 10 Destinations for Metro Movers
(Among metro mover applications, the percent of applications to each top metro)
- San Francisco, CA 12.4%
- New York City, NY 8.4%
- San Jose, CA 6.9%
- Los Angeles, CA 6.8%
- Washington, DC 4.3%
- Boston, MA 3.7%
- Chicago, IL 3.2%
- Seattle, WA 3.1%
- Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 2.8%
- Austin, TX 2.3%
And Glassdoor’s list of metros with the most workers moving away reveals that these cities are losing employees to the hiring hubs mentioned above. For example, half of Providence, R.I. workers are applying for positions outside of the city — and 30% are eyeing spots in the Boston metro area just an hour and a half away. Plus, Providence is a college town housing Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence College and others, so its graduating classes are continuously looking for work in other cities.
Riverside, Calif., Baltimore, Md. and Sacramento, Calif. are just a 1.5-hour drive away from Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, respectively, and they lose workers to these entertainment, political and tech capitals. “These workers are being drawn in by the bigger labor markets in those larger cities where there are maybe other opportunities, or higher pay and better benefits,” said Sullivan.
Top 10 Cities With the Most Workers Moving Away
(The percentage of applications to other cities within each metro)
- Providence, RI 52.2%
- San Jose, CA 47.6%
- Riverside, CA 47.3%
- Baltimore, MD 45.6%
- Sacramento, CA 44.4%
- Columbus, OH 41.4%
- Pittsburgh, PA 39.3%
- Charlotte, NC 37.7%
- Cincinnati, OH 36.2%
- Cleveland, OH 35.3%
San Jose has the dubious distinction of making both the list of cities most workers are moving to, and the ones they’re running from. While the heart of Silicon Valley boasts job openings and rising pay, it’s also become prohibitively expensive to live there. The median home runs about $1.08 million, according to Zillow.
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