Key Highlights

  • 15 US cities that well suited for new spring grads looking to kickstart their careers
  • Midwest grabs nine top spots

The COVID-19 pandemic continues as does life. College seniors graduated online this spring, a first, but they graduated just the same as always. And those graduates, as always, have been looking for their first jobs with their diplomas in hand.

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Rather than focusing on job titles, let’s as real estate agents focus on which cities are drawing these newly minted professionals. Partnering up are LinkedIn’s Economic and Salary Teams and Zillow to give us a look into the top “career starter” cities over a three-year span.

Note that the below analysis does NOT factor in the COVID-19 pandemic but…”A lot of students and graduates are deciding that they want to work somewhere that’s closer to their families,” says Lori Sparger, CEO of Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts. “They don’t want to be as far away. Even the idea of being a three-hour airplane flight from home is chancier, if airplane service can be disrupted.”

Each city on the below list compels attention from recent graduates with affordable housing and well-paying jobs that are appropriately realistic for new grads just beginning their careers in software engineering, health care, sales, education, analytics and research:

City                                       Median                 Median Annual                                                                                              Monthly                                 Rent                     Starter Salary


St. Louis MO                      $992                           $60,400

Milwaukee WI                     $1,071                        $60,900

Cleveland OH                      $1,045                        $57,800

Cincinnati OH                      $1,119                        $61,400

Indianapolis IN                   $1,081                        $59,200

Kansas City MO                   $1,113                        $61,00

Pittsburgh PA                     $1,102                        $59,800

Detroit MI                          $1,195                        $63,900

Columbus OH                      $1,191                        $60,900

Houston TX                         $1,377                        $69,800

Durham NC                         $1,274                        $63,300

Charlotte NC                       $1,284                        $63,300

San Antonio TX                   $1,219                        $59,900

Phoenix AZ                         $1,330                        $63,000

Dallas-Fort Worth TX            $1,423                        $65,300

*Cities ranked by lowest rent to salary ratio.

Obviously cities offering the highest starting salaries to recent graduates (NYC, LA, San Francisco, Washington DC) are not on this list because these same cities also “offer” sky-high rent that devour income.

Thanks to LinkedIn, Zillow and George Anders, senior editor at large with LinkedIn.

Also read: Compass Still Adding Agents AND Still Cutting Salaries & Hours, Podcast: How Long Will The Real Estate Recovery Last? | Tim and Julie Harris, Consumer Confidence Rises Slightly

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