Best Cities For STEM Professionals
If you’re set on a career in STEM, you may want to move to Austin, Texas.
The city ranked as the best market for STEM workers in WalletHub’s 2024’s Best & Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals. WalletHub compared the 100 largest metro areas, evaluating them across 21 key metrics, from per-capita job openings for STEM graduates to the median wage growth for STEM jobs.
“STEM graduates have significantly higher earning potential than people in other fields, as well as access to more employment opportunities,” Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub Analyst, says. “Being in a city where STEM jobs are abundant can set people up for long-term success, as they can move between jobs without having to uproot their life. At the same time, the availability of remote work now allows people to do many STEM jobs from anywhere.”
AUSTIN RANKS NUMBER ONE
Austin topped the list as the best city for STEM professionals. That’s in large part because STEM jobs make up over 11.5% of all employment, one of the highest rates in the nation. The city also has an abundance of open positions as well—more than 13% of Indeed job postings in the area are in the tech sector.
“The Austin metro area also offers the potential for high earnings, with a median yearly income for STEM jobs over $101,000 even after adjusting for the cost of living,” Happe says.
In addition to an abundance of tech jobs and high earning potential, Austin also boasts a vibrant atmosphere for tech education. The city hosts a number of tech summer programs, and the area’s engineering universities are some of the best in the nation. The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business ranked 19th in our ‘Top Business Schools’ ranking with a dynamic community and strong research initiatives.
Seattle, Washington—a well-known west-coast tech hub—ranked second best for STEM with STEM positions making up over 13% of all jobs. In addition, more than 15% of new job postings on Indeed being in tech. Additionally, over 7.5% of the area’s GDP stems from research and development, which is one of the highest rates in the country.
Atlanta, Georgia—home to some of the best engineering universities in the country—ranked third for STEM with one of the highest median wages for STEM jobs, at over $105,000 per year after adjusting for the cost of living.
NEW YORK FALLS SHORT
Despite being home to a large tech sector, New York City fell short on WalletHub’s list—ranking 34th place. The Big Apple garnered a total score of 48.57 with a professional opportunities rank of 55.
Jackson, Mississippi ranked last with a total score of 24.02 with a professional opportunities rank of 95.
To identify the top job markets for STEM professionals, WalletHub conducted a comprehensive analysis of the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) across three key dimensions: Professional Opportunities, STEM-Friendliness, and Quality of Life.
WalletHub evaluated the dimensions using a set of 21 relevant metrics. Each metric received a grade on a 100-point scale, with a perfect score of 100 indicating the most favorable conditions for STEM professionals. WalletHub calculated each metro area's weighted average across all metrics to derive its overall score, utilizing these scores to establish a ranking for its sample.
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