It's graduation season, and many new grads are deciding where they'd like to start planting their roots. The class of 2022 is in a great position to start their careers, as many businesses are amping up hiring efforts and benefits packages in response to the Great Resignation.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employees, employers are planning to hire 31.6% more new graduates from the class of 2022 than they hired from the class of 2021, up 5% from their original hiring projection of 26.6% last fall.
As young professionals start to enter the workforce, they should know that some places offer better opportunities for success than others, according to WalletHub's latest report, which ranks the best and worst places to start a career in 2022.
To compile the list, WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared 182 cities across two key dimensions: professional opportunities and quality of life.
The report considers 27 metrics to determine the "most favorable conditions" for new job entrants. For professional opportunities, WalletHub compared availability for entry level jobs, workforce diversity, monthly average starting salary and annual job growth rate. To define places with the best quality of life, they compared median annual income, average length of the work week, housing affordability and percentage of fully-vaccinated residents.
Based on WalletHub's report, these are the 10 best cities for starting a new career:
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Total score: 65.12
Professional opportunities ranking: 4
Quality of life ranking: 5
2. Orlando, Fla.
Total score: 63.69
Professional opportunities ranking: 3
Quality of life ranking: 14
3. Atlanta, Ga.
Total score: 63.17
Professional opportunities ranking: 2
Quality of life ranking: 18
4. Austin, Texas
Total Score: 62.58
Professional opportunities ranking: 8
Quality of life ranking: 3
5. Seattle, Wash.
Total score: 61.38
Professional opportunities ranking: 12
Quality of life ranking: 2
6. Boise, Idaho
Total score: 60.97
Professional opportunities ranking: 7
Quality of life ranking: 17
7. Miami, Fla.
Total score: 60.81
Professional opportunities ranking: 1
Quality of life ranking: 73
8. Tampa, Fla.
Total score: 60.74
Professional opportunities ranking: 5
Quality of life ranking: 44
9. Portland, Maine
Total score: 60.63
Professional opportunities ranking: 10
Quality of life ranking: 7
10. Columbia, S.C.
Total score: 59.93
Professional opportunities ranking: 6
Quality of life ranking: 33
WalletHub also identified the 10 worst cities for starting a career: Anchorage, Alaska; Long Beach, Calif.; Pembroke Pines, Fla.; Newark, N.J.; Casper, Wyo.; Detroit, Mich.; Santa Clarita, Calif; New York, N.Y.; Shreveport, La.; and North Las Vegas, Nev.
According to Rochelle Parks Yancey, a professor of management at Texas Southern University and expert featured in the report, there are three questions you should ask yourself when choosing a city to start a career in.
- Does the city have several industries and/or firms in which you might want to work (not just one or two)?
- Does your anticipated compensation align with the lifestyle that is important to you?
- Is there close access to medical facilities or, if you plan to travel, airports/public transportation?
Yancey also wants people starting new careers to embrace change, stating in the report, "No matter where you start, that does not define your end. Be prepared to move as much as you want or need to for new opportunities."
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