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Super Bowl 50 Matchup: Which City Wins in Jobs, Pay, Satisfaction & Employment?

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

February 5, 2016

The Broncos and Panthers are facing off at Super Bowl 50, and both Denver and Charlotte want that Vince Lombardi trophy in host region, the San Francisco Bay Area. Being home to a winning team can be great for city morale and pride, but being Glassdoor, we decided to take a look at which of these three cities comes out on top for job opportunities, employee satisfaction and affordability (living power), factoring in cost of living and pay. Will this foreshadow the outcome for Sunday? Probably not, but we thought it might be useful for some pre-game trivia or anyone considering any of these cities as a place to move and get a new job.

According to Glassdoor’s report on the 25 Best Cities for Jobs, Charlotte’s neighbor Raleigh actually took the #1 crown for the best city to find a job. Glassdoor’s recent report reveals how easy it is to get a job (hiring opportunity), how affordable it is to live there (living power), and how satisfied employees are working there (job satisfaction). So how do our Super Bowl cities fare?


The job market has rebounded well since the recession in 2008, and we see lots of opportunity for job seekers in cities across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate held steady at 5% in December 2015.

  • Charlotte’s unemployment rate was 5.1% for November*, slightly higher than the national average.
  • Denver’s unemployment rate holds at 3.2% for November, significantly below the national average.
  • San Francisco’s unemployment rate holds at 3.9% for November, also below the national average.

Winner – Denver!

*Most recent unemployment numbers for city by Bureau of Labor Statistics


If you want to be a best city for a job, you must first have a healthy number of job openings. Glassdoor’s Best Cities report evaluated how easy it was to get a job, also called “hiring opportunity.” Hiring opportunity was determined by the ratio of active job openings to population. (1)

  • Charlotte ranked #30 out of 50 cities nationally in Glassdoor’s report for hiring opportunity, and is home to big companies like Duke Energy and manufacturing giant Nucor
  • Denver, the mile high city and close to the headquarters of DISH Networks and Level 3 Communications, ranked #39
  • San Francisco, with its proximity to Silicon Valley and home to global companies like Genentech and com, ranked #12

Winner – San Francisco!


While having a lot of jobs is one part of the picture, how much people earn and how much it costs to live somewhere provides a more holistic view of a healthy jobs city.

Median Salaries (2)

  • Charlotte: $45,000
  • Denver: $52,000
  • San Francisco: $70,000

Median Home Prices

  • Charlotte: $158,700
  • Denver: $291,500
  • San Francisco: $728,000

Winner – Charlotte! With lower cost of living, the power of pay goes further in Charlotte.


It’s not enough to just have job openings. At Glassdoor, our mission is to help people find a job and company they love. In our Best Cities report, we also look at how satisfied people are with their jobs. (3)

  • Charlotte: Ranked #41 of 50 in job satisfaction
  • Denver: Ranked #47
  • San Francisco: Ranked #1

Winner – San Francisco!


While San Francisco has a high cost of living, ultimately the robust jobs market as well as level of jobs satisfaction is a big advantage, and the city by the Bay is the winner of our Super Bowl matchup, claiming the top two spots out of the four areas we compared.

Ready to find a new job? Start your job search today.

Methodology: Glassdoor’s Best Cities for Jobs report identified U.S. metros with the highest overall Glassdoor Job Score, based on a comparison of the 50 most populated U.S. metros. Each region’s Glassdoor Job Score, based on a 5-point scale (5.0=best city for a job, 1.0=worst city for a job), is determined by weighting three factors equally: hiring opportunity, cost of living and job satisfaction.

  1. Hiring opportunity is determined by the ratio of active job openings to population. (Job openings per metro represent active job listings on Glassdoor as of 4/30/15. Population data is according to the U.S. Office of Management & Budget).
  2. Cost of living is determined by the ratio of median annual base salary to median metro home value. (Median annual base salary per metro based on at least 1,100 salary reports shared by local employees on Glassdoor over the past year (4/28/14-4/27/15). Median home value is according to the Zillow Home Value Index for All Homes, as of March 2015).
  3. Job satisfaction ratings per metro is based on at least 1,000 company reviews shared by local employees on Glassdoor over the past year (4/28/14-4/27/15; Ratings based on a 5-point scale: 5.0=very satisfied, 1.0=very dissatisfied).
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