There are many ways to go about selecting a job that pays well. Some fields are known for their comparatively high wages, like medicine and tech. And regardless of industry, many times the higher up the leadership ladder you climb, the more you get paid.
But sometimes location can play a role in your salary, too. Job list site ZipRecruiter recently looked at the average annual salaries in hundreds of U.S. cities according to their online job postings between January and June 2023. Though New York and Los Angeles often top lists for localities with high salaries, neither made the top five. In fact, ZipRecruiter found that the best cities for salary were fairly spread out throughout the country.
"Not all companies post pay," says Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, about the results. "And then many of them post very wide ranges so sometimes pay data can be a little wonky." Still, these numbers give a sense of how much people are making around the U.S.
Currently, eight states have laws that require employers to post pay on job listings, including California, Rhode Island and Maryland. Additionally cities and counties across the country like Cincinnati and Jersey City, N.J., also have pay transparency laws.
Here is ZipRecruiter's list of the top 10 U.S. cities for average annual salary according to job listings, including that average salary.
Average annual salary: $150,620
Average annual salary: $150,547
Average annual salary: $149,688
Average annual salary: $146,600
Average annual salary: $146,063
Average annual salary: $145,917
Average annual salary: $145,440
Average annual salary: $145,369
Average annual salary: $144,864
Average annual salary: $144,131
"What's always the case is that many of the highest paying cities are often the most expensive cities." Beverly Hills is part of Los Angeles, for example, one of the most expensive cities in the country, according to Kiplinger. Burlingame, Mountain View and Santa Rosa are in or around the Bay Area, one of the most expensive metro areas in the country.
Remote work has played a part in local salaries as well. More than half, 58% of employed Americans report having the option to work from home for all or part of the week, according to a 2022 McKinsey poll of 25,000 U.S. adults. The company believes flexible work options could've grown as much as tenfold since 2019.
"High wage jobs were more concentrated in fewer cities before, such as the coastal cities," says Pollak. "But there are ever more cities that are entering this sort of high wage set and that is partly because remote work has made high wage companies less anchored to superstar cities." Organizations and individuals alike are leaving for states like Texas, she says, among others.
"It's kind of spreading the wealth."
"The opportunity for higher paying positions is more widely dispersed than ever," says Kathryn Minshew, CEO and founder of The Muse. "We are hearing from Muse users, particularly Gen Z and Millennial talent, that there is a lot of interest in living and working in these less expensive yet culturally vibrant areas — and thus companies are adjusting and hiring and paying more where they can attract this top talent."
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