6 Top Cities for High-Paying Jobs

By Hannah Hamilton
Monster Contributing Writer

Online salary, benefits, and compensation company Payscale recently studied the best cities for high-paying jobs in the U.S. They ranked the top 100 national metropolitan statistical areas based on median pay adjusted to the area’s cost of living, relative commonness of high-paying jobs and unemployment rate.

Payscale defined high-paying jobs as managers, executives, software developers, engineers lawyers, judges, doctors, surgeons, and psychiatrists and took a look at their list of cities to see how these professionals fared there.

According to the Payscale study, the top six cities for high-paying jobs are:

1. Salt Lake City, UT

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

3. Houston-Sugarland-Baytown, TX

4. Austin-Round Rock, TX

5. Provo-Orem, UT

6. Ogden-Clearfield, UT

Rounding out the top 10 were Raleigh-Cary, NC (the only city in the top 10 that’s on the East Coast), Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA, Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA, and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA.

The results show three of the 10 ten high-paying cities are based in Utah, including the highest paying city, Salt Lake City. The median pay adjusted for cost of living in Salt Lake City is $63,900, which seems unremarkable in comparison to the $60,000 national median pay for those with a bachelor degree or higher. But, only Honolulu rates higher than Salt Lake in terms of low unemployment rates. Salt Lake also boasts a very high percentage of high-paying jobs.

Two areas in Texas are also in the top 10, in part due to the oil industry in Texas, which allows for the greater creation of jobs and opportunities and affects citizens who are both directly and indirectly involved with the industry.

Additionally, cities with large technology presences such as Salt Lake City, Austin, Seattle, and San Jose have become attractive spots for job seekers as they have higher wages, more opportunities, and less unemployment than other areas.

It’s worth noting that, other than Houston, none of the cities in the top six are particularly large cities. When it comes to national population rank, these are all mid-size cities, which speaks volumes about the cost of living there. The top area, Salt Lake City, is the 50th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Provo and Ogden-Clearfield in Utah are even smaller, ranking as the 98th and 94th largest areas in the US, respectively.

The best areas to go looking for jobs are at the top of the list not because they are offer the highest salaries, but because the average salary is close to the national median pay, the area does not have an incredibly high cost of living, the percentage of jobs available is decent, and the unemployment rate is above the national average.

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