The Top 10 Cities Where Workers Are Ready to Leave — And Where They're Heading - Glassdoor for Employers
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The Top 10 Cities Where Workers Are Ready to Leave — And Where They're Heading

It's not just in your head — recruiting really has gotten more difficult in the past few years. Amidst the longest economic expansion in recorded U.S. history, unemployment has steadily decreased while the number of open jobs has skyrocketed. In a job seeker's market like this, recruiters can't just rely on a post-and-pray strategy — they have to get strategic.

One strategy recruiters might want to employ in particular? Identifying where job seekers are leaving (and heading) in order to determine which talent markets are worth investing in. In the new report Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It? Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain has identified the top ten metros job seekers are interested in leaving, and which cities they're targeting. Read on to learn valuable insights and tips that can help you shape your talent acquisition strategy, regardless of where you're located.

Top 10 Cities With the Most Workers Moving Away

(% of applications to other cities)

  1. Providence, RI: 52.2%
  2. San Jose, CA: 47.6%
  3. Riverside, CA: 47.3%
  4. Baltimore, MD: 45.6%
  5. Sacramento, CA:  44.4%
  6. Columbus, OH:  41.4%
  7. Pittsburgh, PA:  39.3%
  8. Charlotte, NC: 37.7%
  9. Cincinnati, OH:  36.2%
  10. Cleveland, OH: 35.3%

If You're Located in These Cities: It can be tough to retain talent when they're eager to leave — especially when it's due to something out of your control, like location. Still, it doesn't mean all hope is lost. One of the best ways to ensure your star employees don't leave is by simply ensuring that they're happy at work. Previous Glassdoor research has shown that three of the biggest drivers of employee satisfaction are the quality of senior leadership, career opportunities and culture. Use tools like engagement surveys and Glassdoor to monitor employee sentiment on these issues, and if they're below par, come up with an internal plan of action to improve them. You may also want to have a discussion about updating your remote work policy so that even employees who want to move can stay with your company. With collaboration tools like video conferencing, Slack and Google Docs, employees can often be just as productive working remotely as they would be in person.

If You're Not Located in These Cities: Take advantage of the fact that these candidates are willing to move! Target job seekers from these markets in your digital recruitment marketing efforts, so that your message is getting in front of the right people at the right time. When speaking to candidates from these markets, be sure to highlight what makes your location a great place to work and live. You should also discuss your relocation policy internally. Offering to cover moving costs — even if it's only in part — can be the difference between a candidate accepting or rejecting your job offer. Finally, you might want to consider visiting these cities for any in-person recruiting events — college career fairs, hackathons, etc. — that your company participates in.

[Related: How to Compete With Silicon Valley for Tech Talent]

Top 10 Destinations for Metro Movers

(Among metro mover applications, the percent of applications to each top city)

  1. San Francisco, CA: 12.4%
  2. New York City, NY: 8.4%
  3. San Jose, CA: 6.9%
  4. Los Angeles, CA: 6.8%
  5. Washington, DC: 4.3%
  6. Boston, MA: 3.7%
  7. Chicago, IL: 3.2%
  8. Seattle, WA: 3.1%
  9. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX: 2.8%
  10. Austin, TX: 2.3%

If You're Located in These Cities: If you live in one of these hot metros, you're in luck! Make sure to talk up everything that makes your city so great, including landmarks, restaurants, annual events, etc. You could always take a leaf out of top tech companies' books by flying top candidates in for in-person interviews and personally showing them around town. Of course, not everyone wants to move at the drop of the hat, so make sure to develop talking points that address any fears candidates have around the commute, higher cost of living, etc. You can also use these pain points to help shape the benefits package that you offer. And make sure that you have a remote-friendly recruitment process — seamless conference calling and video chat platforms are a must when interviewing remote candidates.

If You're Not Located in These Cities: If you can't offer the glitz and glam of big cities like these, focus instead on what makes your location and company great. Perhaps your office is in an area that's great to raise a family, or perfect for outdoor adventurers. Even more importantly, talk about your company's unique employer value proposition, and what employees get at your company that they can't anywhere else. Again, you may want to revisit your remote work policy. The ability to work from home is one of the most sought-after perks, and can help with both recruiting and retention. Finally, if your company is thinking about opening any new offices, it's worth making a case for one of these cities. Access to a local talent pool is one of the biggest factors execs take into consideration when choosing where to expand, and they will likely appreciate your insight.

Learn More:

Metro Movers: Where Are Americans Moving for Jobs, And Is It Worth It?