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Younger, Educated Job Seekers More Likely to Move

The majority of Americans say they are willing to move for their jobs. Those who do move tend to be young and work in higher-paying jobs, according to a recent migration study [1] conducted by Glassdoor [2].

About 77 percent of Americans say they would move for their job. Among Millennials, the percentage is 86, according to a “Career Trends Report” published by Cornerstone OnDemand [3].

Reviewing its vast collection of job applications in the 40 largest U.S. metros, Glassdoor found 28.5 percent of job applications were submitted to companies outside the applicant’s current metro.

Job seekers applying outside their metro are on average younger, more educated, and more likely to be men, according to Glassdoor’s findings [4]. A large percentage of applications are submitted to tech-heavy markets.

An additional 10 years of age translates to a 7-percentage point lower likelihood of willingness to move for a job. Older job seekers might be convinced to move with “salary premiums or excellent workplace culture,” according to Glassdoor.

A Master’s degree equates to a 4.9 percentage point greater likelihood of being willing to move for a job. Also, men are 3.3 percentage points more likely to apply for jobs outside their current metro than women.

The city most attractive to job seekers who are willing to move to another metro is San Francisco, according to Glassdoor data. About 12.4 percent of job applications on which the applicant applied to a job in another metro went to jobs in San Francisco. San Francisco was followed by New York (8.4 percent); San Jose, California (6.9 percent); Los Angeles, California (6.8 percent); and Washington, D.C. (4.3 percent). Other cities in the top 10 for attracting outside talent were Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Seattle, Washington; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; and Austin, Texas.

The common thread among many of these metro migration [5] hubs is a booming tech sector. In fact, Glassdoor found tech talent was some of the most mobile talent. The jobs with the highest percentage of applications outside the applicant’s current metro were chemical engineer with 73.1 percent of applications to outside metros and Oracle database administrator with 69 percent. These were followed by ATG developer, industrial engineer, salesforce developer, flight attendant, data engineer, and structural engineer—all of which had nearly 60 percent or more of applications to remote locations.

“Do more geographically mobile job candidates earn higher pay on average?” Glassdoor asked. “The short answer: yes, especially if it’s for a tech job.”

However, while high-paying tech and engineering jobs may be driving people to move, overall “most job candidates prefer to stay close to home,” according to Glassdoor. In particular, lower-skilled jobs, including retail and food services, do not attract remote candidates.

Jobs for which people were least likely to apply outside of their current metro were bartender, retail representative, delivery driver, receptionist, retail team member, and front desk agent.

Glassdoor says these job applicants are unlikely to move “regardless of a city’s affordability,” while also noting that many of these jobs earn lower than the median national salary of $51,975.

While Glassdoor did not mention moving costs in its report, moving costs could deter applicants in lower-paying jobs from moving, even to a more affordable metro.

For applicants who are willing to move for a job, regardless of field, salary, of course, is a motivator. However, it is not as big a motivator as company culture, according to Glassdoor’s research.