Recruitment Trends

More Than One in Four Job Seekers Are Willing to Move Cities for a New Job

San Francisco, New York City are top destinations for workers who want to move, while Providence, R.I and San Jose have the highest percentage of workers applying to other cities

MILL VALLEY, Calif., May 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, released a new economic research study today revealing that more than a quarter (28.5 percent) of applications on Glassdoor were to jobs outside of an applicant’s current metro. The study, Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It?, identifies the U.S. cities job applicants are most interested in moving to for a job, the cities with the biggest share of job seekers interested in leaving, which factors drive people to move for a new job and other findings related to who is potentially moving for a new job and why.

The Glassdoor study is based on a sample of more than 668,000 online job applications started on Glassdoor1 during a one week period, from January 8-14, 2018, for the 40 largest metro areas in the U.S. With rich data on the job search process and nearly 40 million reviews and insights on workplace factors at more than 770,000 companies around the world,2 Glassdoor has a unique window into near real-time job search patterns and the cities, jobs and companies enticing today’s job seekers to move.

“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. 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,” said Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, who conducted the study.

Top Destinations: San Francisco and New York City

The study finds that San Francisco is the top destination among job seekers applying for jobs beyond their current metro (known in the study as metro movers). Of the total metro mover population in the study, 12.4 percent are applying to jobs in San Francisco. Job seekers see opportunities at companies like Facebook and Salesforce within the booming tech hub, overlooking the housing shortages and high cost of living. New York City has the second highest share of metro mover applications (8.4 percent), followed by San Jose (6.9 percent), Los Angeles (6.8 percent) and Washington D.C. (4.3 percent). The study finds these cities are largely magnets for the job seekers located in smaller cities nearby.

Top 10 Destinations for Metro Movers
(Among metro mover applications, the percent of applications to each top metro)


San Francisco, CA



New York City, NY



San Jose, CA



Los Angeles, CA



Washington, DC



Boston, MA



Chicago, IL



Seattle, WA



Dallas-Fort Worth, TX



Austin, TX



Top Cities With Most Workers Moving Away

The college town of Providence, R.I. topped the list of cities with the highest percentage (52.2 percent) of candidates in the metro applying for jobs elsewhere. Specifically, this means that more than half of job seekers in Providence are applying to jobs in other areas, which would likely require moving to a new city. Three California cities are among the top five including San Jose (47.6 percent), Riverside (47.3 percent) and Sacramento (44.4 percent), respectively, along with Baltimore (45.6 percent). The study finds that many of the people moving away from these cities are gravitating to nearby cities that are larger and more rapidly-growing.

Top 10 Cities With the Most Workers Moving Away
(The percentage of applications to other cities within each metro)


Providence, RI



San Jose, CA



Riverside, CA



Baltimore, MD



Sacramento, CA



Columbus, OH



Pittsburgh, PA



Charlotte, NC



Cincinnati, OH



Cleveland, OH



Men and Young People Most Likely to Move

Company culture is a top factor driving people to move, more so than salary, the study finds. A company with a 1-star higher overall Glassdoor rating is six times more likely to attract a candidate than a company that’s offering $10,000 more in salary, but has a lower culture rating. Salary can help entice workers to move from other cities, but at a much smaller percentage. An extra $10,000 higher base salary predicts applicants are only half a percentage point more likely to move.

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

Men and young workers are also more likely to move, the study finds. Men are 3.3 percentage points more likely than women to move. Similarly, a job applicant is seven percentage points less likely to move with each passing decade that they age. Based on the data, employers who want to maintain diverse applicant pools need to also reach candidates that are traditionally less likely to move through more attentive recruiting efforts.

“You might expect that more money would be a top factor for job seekers when considering whether to move for a job, but it’s not. Our research shows companies with good culture and employees who love what they do ultimately have a leg-up when it comes to attracting the best talent from across the country,” Chamberlain said. “This means employers must ramp-up their recruiting efforts for groups least likely to move – such as women or more senior workers – and have excellent culture, strong pay or benefits offerings.”




The full study can be found on Glassdoor Economic Research and includes more information about metro movers in the 40 cities examined, metro migration patterns of job seekers, the companies attracting job seekers most among the top cities and the jobs people are most likely to move for.
To speak with a Glassdoor spokesperson regarding this research and/or labor market and hiring trends:
For employers: Check out Glassdoor Economic Research for more studies on hiring duration trends, how to better retain employees and more.
For job seekers: Where would you move for a new job? See Glassdoor’s ranking of the 25 Best Cities for Jobs in 2017 to get started.
1 All names and other personally identifying information were removed from resumes before access by our researchers. No personally identifying information of any kind was used in this research.
2Source: Glassdoor internal statistics, March 2018.
About Glassdoor
Glassdoor is one of the largest job and recruiting sites in the world today. Set apart by the tens of millions of reviews and insights provided by employees and candidates, Glassdoor combines all the jobs with this valuable data to make it easy for people to find a job that is uniquely right for them. As a result, Glassdoor helps employers hire truly informed candidates at scale through effective recruiting solutions like job advertising and employer branding products. Launched in 2008, Glassdoor now has reviews and insights for more than 770,000 companies in more than 190 countries. For labor market trends and analysis, visit Glassdoor Economic Research. For company news and career advice and tips, visit the Glassdoor Blog and for employer-related news and insights to help employers hire, visit the Glassdoor for Employers Blog. Visit or download our apps on iOS and Android platforms.