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Where we choose to live influences our entire life: our future family, what living costs we’ll have to deal with, our circle of friends, and even the hobbies we’ll be able to pick up. Most importantly, it also impacts our career path – may be more than we realize.

Changing jobs may look like a great strategy when you decide to switch it up or reach your financial goals at the end of the year, but a study by RENTCafé says you might want to think about changing cities instead.

Different areas bring about different costs and different opportunities, so it’s only natural to make a move that best suits your life plans. What’s important is how much money you have left at the end of the day, which is what RENTCafé’s study ultimately focused on.

Are You Thinking of Going Places?

To better understand which metros are the best and which are the worst to live in based on your profession, it’s best to focus on annual wages and the cost of living.  In other words, to find out what location is the best choice for each professional field, we subtracted the average cost of living per metro from the average net income per field.

Financially speaking, the quality of your life might improve in certain cities rather than in others, depending on your job – after all, no one wants to live in a place where their salary cannot keep up with their lifestyle.

Therefore, the industry in which you are active makes all the difference for your profession. While some metros have great job markets and provide a wide array of professional opportunities, others fall behind by focusing on limited industries. So, before you make a move of any kind, find out if your professional occupation fits the area, and if the area fits your lifestyle.

Managers Are Highly-paid, “Heroes” Not So Much

It comes as no surprise that, on a national scale, Management workers earn the highest amount per year, closely followed by IT and Legal professionals. What does come as a surprise, however, is that, generally speaking, people who work so-called hero jobs are often poorly compensated. This means that those working in Health, Education, or Community & Social Service might have a harder time finding a city that would allow them to live comfortably.

People working Construction & Extraction have it easier than professionals in Protective Services. Such a case is the Chicago metropolitan area, where construction workers share the top spot with engineers, architects, people working in IT and Management, and Legal.

One Thing’s for Sure – There Is Room for Everybody

Overall, jobs in finance and technology are thought to enjoy the most significant bumps in annual wages. Also, many believe that wage growth in this profession is more substantial for those who already hold well-paid C-roles, but that’s not necessarily the situation nationwide.

Take, for example, the San Jose metro area, which is a haven for those working in multiple fields, such as Education, Architecture, Engineering, and Business & Financial Operations, even though the tech industry dominates its strong job market.

California Is Not the Only Place for Professional Success

The Hartford, CT metro is the place to be, according to RENTCafé, and not only for white-collar jobs. The area is at the top of the list for those who work in Life, Physical & Social Science, Community & Social Services, as well as for those in Maintenance & Repair and Office & Administrative Support profession.

Although various industries thrive in the Golden State, and in San Jose in particular, California also holds a top position on the Top Worst metros list, alongside Florida and Hawaii. This is because professionals working in Personal Care & Service or Food Preparation & Serving are not the happiest in areas like Deltona, FL or Urban Honolulu.

Geography Affects Differences in Your Wages

No two jobs are alike. Sure, some employers demand their staff to be equally qualified to perform the same job, but there are variations to each job description. By extension, there is variation in the wages offered for professionals who have to perform the same tasks.

Besides experience, skill, and willingness to go the extra mile in your profession, a person’s paycheck may differ based solely on geography and how well a specific area represents the industry they are active in. 

Your success in one particular city does not depend only on your resume, but also on local demand of what you have to offer. Add that on top of the cost of living, which differs from city to city, and the math will tell you if you will make it or break it in the city of your choice.

Young Professionals Find It Easier to Relocate for a Job Opportunity

Changing location might be more accessible for the younger demographic that has recently entered the job market than it is for professionals from older generations looking to change careers or cities.

The idea of packing a bag and heading towards a city that best suits their career and dreams does not sound that impossible for young adults.

Understandably, at the opposite end of the spectrum are the people who have focused on a single career their entire adult life, who often find it harder to change jobs after years of dedication.

What matters is for you to be comfortable with where your profession has taken you. When it comes to moving to a different city, the variables can be very subjective. So, before you decide on anything, make sure it’s the right move for you.

Written By
With a background in microtraining and e-learning content writing, Alexandra is a creative writer for RENTCafé, who now enjoys writing about rental lifestyle and residential real estate market trends.

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