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

May 18, 2018

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Moving for a job is a big decision. Where are job seekers in the United States applying to jobs in 2018? And what makes them more likely to move to a new city?  

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, 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.

This study uses a large sample of more than 668,000 online applications during a typical week on Glassdoor to illustrate real-time trends in work-related migration among the 40 biggest metros in the U.S. 

Executive Summary

  • While the typical job seeker on Glassdoor is highly selective and applies to 5.2 jobs per week on average, that varies widely, with many power users applying to 20 or more jobs per week.
  • On average, 28.5 percent of job applications are to a new metro area. Which factors statistically drive “metro movers” — job seekers located in one metro, but start a job application in another metro — to apply to jobs and companies elsewhere?
  • Salary drives candidates to move. But the effect is small. An extra $10,000 higher base salary predicts candidates are about a half percentage point (0.41 percentage points) more likely to be a metro mover — a statistically significant, but small effect.
  • Better company culture is more attractive. Having a 1-star higher overall Glassdoor rating predicts candidates will be 2.5 percentage points more likely to move metros for a job. That’s statistically significant, and roughly six times larger than the impact of offering $10,000 higher pay.
  • Younger workers are more likely to move. Adding roughly ten years to an applicant’s  age predicts they’ll be 7 percentage points less likely to be a metro mover. For employers who want to hire experienced candidates from other metros, recruiters may need to compensate with salary premiums or excellent workplace culture.
  • Men are more likely to move metros. Even after controlling for job titles, education and age, men are 3.3 percentage points more likely to apply to jobs in another metro. Employers looking to attract women need to make a conscious outreach effort — particularly for the tech and engineering roles, which has many metro movers.
  • Movers are more educated. Workers with a master’s degree are about 4.9 percentage points more likely to be willing to move metros for a job. By contrast, those with a 2-year associate’s degree are least likely to move metros for a job.  

To learn more, check out the full study, see our press release visit the Glassdoor Employer Blog.