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MuniNet Guide a municipal research website focusing on state and local government, U.S. demographic and employment trends, public finance, and municipal bonds; highlighted a recent report on cities with the highest job satisfaction.  Topping the Glassdoor Employment Satisfaction Report Card  are San Jose and San Francisco, home to five of the companies that made Glassdoor’s 2013 list of Top 50 Places to Work (including Google, Facebook, and Riverbed Technology).  Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Washington, DC rounded out the top five cities for overall employment satisfaction.




Top Five Cities for Job Satisfaction:

  1. San Jose, CA
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Salt Lake City, UT
  5. Washington, DC

Source: Glassdoor Employment Satisfaction Report Card

The Report Card is based on over 500 reviews per metro area shared by local employees on Glassdoor over the past year.  In addition to an “overall satisfaction rating,” the report examines compensation and benefits, senior management satisfaction, business outlook, and hiring prospects.

Forbes’ rankings of Cities with the Happiest Young Professionals  (published in September 2012), also includes three California cities – Los Angeles, San Jose, and Sunnyvale – at the top of its list.

Kiplinger named Washington DC its top pick among Best Cities for Mid-Career Professionals in its rankings  last summer.

Job seekers and current employees in the public sector may have similar but different factors to consider in the “job satisfaction” equation.  It’s no secret that government employers often compensate for a lower pay with higher benefits packages. This landscape is rapidly changing, as many state and local governments seek to reform their public pension systems.

The “business outlook” in the private sector is just one of the components that contribute to the overall “economic outlook” for a public sector employer.  Identifying which employment sectors dominate a local area economy is one – but certainly not the only – important factor in determining its financial viability, and, in turn, hiring prospects and job security.

Like any business entity, a growing, thriving government will have more promising employment prospects than a struggling one.  Not surprisingly, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Michigan, states that have faced significant fiscal challenges over the past several years, experienced the biggest decline in state and local government employment between 2008 – 2012, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government in a report  released earlier this year.

Beyond the lists and measurable metrics, job satisfaction with any potential employer – in any city – is ultimately driven by personal factors.  Do you prefer a large organization, where your job is very specific and demarcated, or for a smaller organization, where you wear many hats?  How important are company perks like wellness programs and employee picnics? Do you work better in a team, or independently?  Are you happier in a small town, or a large metropolitan area?

Like moving into a new neighborhood, knowing what it’s really like to work for a new employer is often a mystery until weeks after the moving van has pulled away from the curb.  Glassdoor, founded in 2007, provides an “inside look” at companies through feedback provided by employees, employers, and interview candidates. While the majority of reviews on are from employees in the private sector, the website includes many government employer reviews as well.


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