With serious unemployment besetting the nation today, you may wonder where the demand for employees are. In fact, if you’re about ready to pack up and leave your town, you may be just as interested in finding out where the high paying jobs are. But before you do that, some research is in order. You may want to ask yourself if a new job elsewhere is really worth the move. What kind of factors should you consider? Cost of living, salary and benefits (which should be taken together), school district and real estate property values. If you’re still interested in where the job demand is, then perhaps the data presented below may help!
I actually stumbled upon some great charts from The Atlantic and the Creative Class. I hope they don’t mind it if I feature them here.
The first one is this chart based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (or BLS), which shows how a particular geographical area compares to the national norm. The baseline here is 100.
Image source: The Atlantic
Looks like the relative pay in Silicon Valley tops the chart.
Where Are The High Paying Jobs? All Jobs Considered
Now if you check out these additional interesting charts, you’ll infer a few more facts that confirm what’s common knowledge — the East and West coasts will grant you the highest salaries overall.
This is how things look at the general level. What about jobs in three separate categories? Below, we check out how things stack up for service jobs, blue collar jobs and creative jobs.
Locations for High Paying Service Jobs
The numbers are further sliced and diced to show you what job income you can expect if you’re looking for work in the service sector (typically lower skilled jobs)… You can click on any of the charts to enlarge the images and get a better look.
Here is how the top areas ranked for average pay:
#1 Bridgeport-Stamford — $40,935
#3 San Francisco — $39,822
#4 San Jose — $39,469
#5 Greater New York — $38,514
Locations for High Paying Blue Collar Occupations
Blue collar occupations, such as those in construction, transportation or manufacturing, offer fatter paychecks in certain geographical locations. You’ll see that Alaska has some of these top jobs for the working class. This was something I would expect, given that it’s a hot spot for natural resources. But then again, the SF Bay Area also tops the list here for average income:
#1 Fairbanks, Alaska — $52,247
#2 Anchorage, Alaska — $50,785
#3 San Francisco, California — $47,757
#5 Oakland, California — $45,087
But I am speculating that Silicon Valley pay is this way primarily because of cost of living factors.
Locations for High Paying Jobs in the Creative Sector
What I find personally encouraging is that the “creative jobs” pay well and the highly skilled workforce is quite well compensated here in Silicon Valley. The career I have is primarily creative and in one way, this shows that I am just in the right spot.
The jobs in this category include those in engineering, technology and science, as well as in business and law. Some other white collar jobs are in the arts, media, entertainment and design as well as education. Here is a list of how the places ranked (for average wage):
#1 San Jose, Silicon Valley — $101,575
#2 Greater San Francisco — $95,472
#3 Greater New York — $90,101
#4 Greater Washington, D.C. — $89,712
#5 Bridgeport-Stamford — $87,747
Why Silicon Valley Is Not All That
But wait! Before you pack up and jump in your car to head West, remember how much we gripe about a ton of things here in California. Sure, the extra income here seems sweet (along with the mild weather, pleasant sunny skies 90% of the time and beautiful coast/beach areas), until you bring that up against other matters, such as the high cost of living, bankrupt educational system and sky-high real estate prices. And don’t forget the potential for wildfires and earthquakes, though you’ll find disaster zones anywhere you go anyway.
I certainly love it here, but it’s a bit of a pressure cooker. While I “had it good” for a while, working in the software engineering industry (as you can see in my Silicon Valley job history) and being around to enjoy the dot com bubble and real estate boom, it’s a lot more mellow around here now, with prices still steep and the California unemployment rate still at record highs.
The picture is a lot different for me now that I’m an online entrepreneur. I’ve mentioned to others how living here is not easy for a full time blogger and website owner, given the cost of living; but on the flipside, the business opportunities here are numerous and always exciting. The enjoyment I have for running and managing an online business is definitely a big factor as to why I keep at this work, but I’ve also got to be practical and weigh this against opportunity cost. Alternatively, my “job” or career today as a full time blogger is considered location-independent, so technically, I should be able to pull up roots and live elsewhere. This is a pipe dream for now, but can always be an option for us to consider one day.
I sometimes fantasize about the kind of lifestyle we could live on our current income — what we earn can certainly go so much farther elsewhere! But it’s not that easy when you’ve got family roots here, plus it’s hard to argue against fantastic weather and networking opportunities in the creative fields. So I’ll just have to see how it goes.
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