Study: College Grads Moving for Jobs, Not Location


Many college graduates can expect to relocate in order to find employment. It’s not surprising that those who invested money and time into job training put their careers before desired locations. A recent study published by Apartment List shows that college graduate renters are moving for jobs, while renters without a degree move for location.

Key Findings of the Study:

  • An estimated 57.2% of renters with a bachelor’s degree were job-first movers, compared to 35.5% of those without a bachelor’s degree.
  • Renters with STEM degrees, often working in the technology sector, are even more likely to have relocated for a job.
  • Metros with the largest share of job-first movers are locations with a higher share of college-educated workers and high housing costs.
  • 42.8% of location-first movers plan on settling down where they currently live, compared to 27.3% of job-first movers, so the majority of college students may not settle down where they move for work.

Popular Locations for Job Seekers

According to Justin Chaplin of, areas for millennial job-first movers include tech and business hubs such as Denver, Seattle, Boston and Silicon Valley. Another study by Apartment List shows the top ten metro areas for millennials (based on affordability, jobs and livability):

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Provo, UT
  3. Madison, WI
  4. San Antonio, TX
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Charleston, SC
  7. Omaha, NE
  8. Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Minneapolis, MN

What to Know Before Moving for a Job

According to Chaplin, those considering a job-based move should first make out a budget to ensure the salary will cover cost of living in your new city. Compare cost of living in the new city to your current location. You may need to make sacrifices if you’re moving to an area with high cost of living.

Adjusting to a New City

Chaplin offers the following advice for adjusting to a new city:

– Exploring the area. I am constantly looking up local events in different parts of the city that I have not yet explored. If you are living in a larger city, there are tons of free things going on every weekend. Even if it’s something as simple as a farmers market or art festival, going to these events is a great way to meet people and explore new areas. I am basically a tourist in my own city every weekend.
– Join a club/sport league. This is a super easy way to meet new people who you share similar interests with. I live in the East Bay, and a simple google search of “East Bay Sports League” yielded a ton of results. I play basketball, and have met a ton of new people just from playing pick up games at the gym.
– Attend the work functions. Go to the post-work happy hours and mingle with your coworkers. It’s a great way to get to know the people you work with and meet people you may not get to interact with on your typical work day.


For more information, read the full study at