College Grads Rank the Best and Worst Places to Begin a Career


After graduating from college, trying to decide where to live and start your career may seem overwhelming.  There are many factors that play into your decision, including job-market saturation, housing affordability and commuter-friendliness. A recent study by WalletHub ( compared the relative market strength and overall livability of more than 182 U.S. cities to help recent college graduates figure out where is the best and worst place to begin a career.  The prospects for new graduates are strong, with a market ripe for new hires and an unemployment rate of only 3.8 percent as of May 2018.

WalletHub examined each city on 27 key metrics that measure such things as availability of entry-level jobs to monthly starting salary to housing affordability.  Salt Lake City, UT (1), Orlando, FL (2) and Atlanta, GA (3) had the top three overall rankings for best city to start a career. Montgomery, AL, Shreveport, LA and Santa Clarita, CA ranked at the bottom of those cities surveyed.


Southeastern Cities Receiving an Overall High Ranking

In addition to Orlando, FL and Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC ranked number 4 for overall best city, followed by Columbia, SC (7), Raleigh, NC (9), Durham, NC (32), Richmond, VA (33) and Charlotte, NC (38). A number of Texas cities faired well in the rankings including Austin, TX (6), San Antonio, TX (27), Dallas, TX (39), Fort Worth, TX (41) and Plano, TX (45).


Factors Used to Rank Cities — Professional Opportunities and Quality of Life Issues

The survey weighed the following factors for professional opportunities to determine the overall best and worst city rankings including:

  • Availability of Entry-Level Jobs
  • 4+ Star Company Jobs (on per Total Number of People
  • Job Fairs per Total People in the Labor Force
  • Monthly Average Starting Salary
  • Annual Job Growth Rate
  • Median-Income Growth Rate
  • Economic Mobility
  • Workforce Diversity
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Job Security
  • Employer-based Retirement Access and Participation
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Career Counselors per 1,000 Workers
  • Entrepreneur-Friendliness


The survey also evaluated quality of life factors including:

  • Median Annual Income
  • Average Length of Work Week
  • Commuter-Friendly Jobs
  • Average Commute Time
  • Share of Population Aged 25 to 34
  • Strength of Social Ties (including family and friends)
  • Share of Adults Aged 25 and Older with at least a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Projected Population Growth
  • Housing Affordability
  • Fun Friendliness (based on separate rankings by WalletHub (“Most Fun Cities in America”)
  • Family-Friendliness (based on separate WalletHub rankings (“Best & Worst Cities for Families)
  • Singles-Friendliness (based on separate WalletHub rankings (“Best & Worst Cities for Singles”)


Carolina Recruitment believes in being more than just a staffing agency.  Our team of experienced job recruiters knows what it takes to find you a great career opportunity based on your unique skills.  Contact us today to see how we can help you build a better future and career.