Work-life balance is an important requirement for both job seekers and companies that wish to recruit the best candidates in a competitive marketplace. But it’s not just the company that matters for good work-life balance– cities matter, too.
All work and no play? Not any more. Increasingly, work-life balance is an important requirement for both job seekers and companies that wish to recruit the best candidates in a competitive marketplace. But it’s not just the company that matters for good work-life balance. Cities matter, too.
A work-life balance report recently released by NerdWallet evaluated the number of weekly hours worked by full-time, year-round employees in cities across the country, as well as average commute time, income, and cost of living. Together, these factors give us a more robust picture of work-life balance. The result? You’re more likely to work 70+ hour weeks in major cities like New York and San Francisco. That’s not just because the high-profile tech and finance jobs in these cities are often associated with longer hours and higher stress. A higher cost of living forces these city residents to take on multiple jobs, live further outside the city (lengthening commute times), or delay purchasing a first home due to higher costs.
I know first hand the challenges of finding that ever-elusive work life balance. After college, I started my career in New York City. While I loved the city, the high cost of living made it difficult to enjoy a high quality of life. I ended up living outside Manhattan to save on rent and much of my time was spent commuting back and forth for work. Sharing small apartment spaces and keeping a close eye on spending has become almost a rite of passage for many college grads. But in cities with a high cost of living, it can be hard to gain a foothold even with mid-level jobs. After I began working for Lucas Group, I was offered the opportunity to move to our Denver office. I jumped at the chance– and haven’t looked back.
Denver offers an incredible work life balance. With easy access to year-round outdoor activities, a culture that values biking and walking to work as alternatives to long commutes, and a diversity of restaurants, entertainment venues and museums, the city is fast becoming a top destination for young families and Millennials. Most importantly, Denver’s competitive job market makes it possible for Millennials and mid-career professionals alike to acquire new skills and grow their careers.
Tired of hustling 70+ hours a week in Manhattan? Dreaming of life beyond crowded subways and fourth-floor walk-ups? In addition to Denver, you may want to consider making the move to one of these cities that offer better work-life balance, without sacrificing your career opportunities:
Atlanta: Ask a recent college grad why they love life in Atlanta, and they’ll tell you it’s all about the fun, food and festivals. From weekly farmer’s markets to authentic ethnic eateries, Atlanta is quickly becoming a nirvana for foodies. Young families appreciate the lower cost of living, warmer winters, and plentiful housing. But job seekers are not just making the move to Atlanta because of the great lifestyle. Both Millennials and mid-career job seekers find great career opportunities in the city, which is home to 13 Fortune 500 headquarters including Delta Airlines, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and UPS.
Dallas/Fort Worth: The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is one of the top locations for executive relocation in the country. From spacious parks and bike lanes to food trucks and farm-to-table dining, the Metroplex offers many of the things people love most about cities like New York, but without the high cost of living or the cold winters. With a low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, a high volume of jobs, and a high ratio of available jobs to the population, Dallas and Fort Worth’s diverse job markets continue to be red hot. Job seekers can choose from multiple industries including health care, IT, finance, and tech.
Portland: There’s more to Portland than the hyper-local food scene and long lines Portlandia so excellently satirizes. The city prides itself on being eco-conscious with wide bike lines and an expansive public transportation network. For those who love the outdoors, Portland is just a short drive from beautiful mountains and beaches for hiking, camping, and skiing. Thanks to the city’s global connections and a competitive cost of living, Portland has become a hub for jobs in technology, software, clean tech, and outdoor apparel/gear. The job market is currently red hot with an annual growth rate of 7.3 percent, which makes it the second fastest growing market in the U.S.
Cincinnati: Diehard sports fans, some of the best chili in the world, a burgeoning microbrewery scene, and strong sense of civic pride– there’s a lot to love for Millennials to love about Cincinnati. Often described as a “big city with a small-town feel”, the city has a quieter pace of life but still offers major cultural and business-related perks. Recent state tax breaks are drawing new companies to the city and surrounding region, driving “tremendous” job growth. Companies have pledged to invest up $168 million in new capital with major expansion projects. Key industries poised for growth include advanced manufacturing and business services.
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