Job seekers consider various factors when looking to relocate—cost of living, school systems, continuing education opportunities, the number of job openings, and salary variations. We looked at a number of elements: frequency and number of job postings on major job bank sites, such as ATD Job Bank, Glassdoor, and Indeed; ATD BEST Award winner locations; People magazine’s Companies That Care 2017; BLS growth rate and mean salary for the training and development manager role; and locations for the top companies in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work guide. We also incorporated cost of living data from NerdWallet and data from the ATD 2017 Talent Development Compensation, Benefits, and Job Seeker Report.
Based on our research, here are some of the best places to look for a job and call home as a talent development professional:
1. Washington, D.C. Area
The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is one of the most diverse and inclusive areas in the United States. With the major embassies, many international association headquarters, nongovernmental organizations, as well as governments of all sizes (federal, state, and local), it’s no wonder there are literally thousands of learning and development (L&D) and talent management positions open every day in every type of organization. The area has become such a hot spot for talent, some of the country’s biggest players have moved their data centers to the area, including Facebook, Verizon, and Amazon. Some of the best higher education institutions also are peppered throughout D.C., Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland, providing great opportunities to learn more about talent development or a new industry. What’s more, ATD’s headquarters is located right outside D.C., as well as one of the biggest ATD Chapters in the nation, offering on-site workshops and educational sessions for talent development professionals looking to hone their craft. The mean salary for a training and development manager in the area is the one of the highest in the nation at $149,490.
With some of the best public schools in the nation; excellent salaries; a variety of urban, suburban, waterfront, and country-living environments; and plenty of job and growth opportunities, the D.C. area offers the best living and working conditions for L&D professionals.
2. San Francisco Bay Area
The Bay and surrounding area has reached record-high job market levels, as reported by The Mercury News in March 2018, adding 11,600 in just one month. With the tech economy booming, talent development positions at these companies have experienced a major upswing as well. Upon last search, there were more than 1,500 openings in the Bay Area. This area produces a wealth of learning opportunities and amazing companies to work for, such as ATD’s 15th Annual BEST Award winners HireRight and Hitachi Data Systems. San Francisco and surrounding areas also house 10 of People’s top 50 Companies That Care. While the cost of living in the area is one of the highest in the nation, the mean salary for a training and development manager is $ 146,950.
Boston is known for many things, and with more than 77 colleges and universities, learning and education is assuredly one of them. This area is rife with opportunities for L&D professionals because learning is so valued. The average mean salary for these professionals is still relatively high at $136,580, but the cost of living is considerably lower than the D.C. or San Francisco Bay areas. If you can stand the cooler weather, you will be rewarded with award-winning company cultures like those found at Education First, Wayfair, and ATD BEST Award winner Boston Consulting.
The sprawling city of Dallas and neighboring Fort Worth area have experienced a rapid economic and population increase, putting the job market growth at nearly double the national average (2.4 percent versus 1.4), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dallas is also the base for one of ATD’s largest and busiest local chapters—ATD Dallas, which hosts the Southwest Learning Summit each year. From energy and oil to communications and airline company headquarters, Dallas has a variety of industry types and company sizes. The third-largest Texas city also boosts the lowest cost of living compared to the rest of this list, 41 major universities in the area, and a burgeoning arts and entertainment scene to fulfill one’s life outside the office.
“Dallas is a big draw from a talent professional perspective. There is a buzz, an entrepreneurial energy, here with a lot of really energetic people who like to collaborate, work together, and dream big,” said ATD Dallas Chapter past president Mike Thompson, who moved his talent development company from Arkansas to Dallas five years ago. “I’ve seen significant growth since coming here—and it’s not one specific industry either, it’s all over from health to retail, oil and gas and other businesses.”
Ranked the number 3 best place to live in the country by U.S. News and World Report, Denver has a considerable amount of job opportunities for those in the training and talent space. Denver’s metropolitan area also offers a mean salary of $126,770, with a significantly lower cost of living than most major cities in the United States. Right outside Denver in Englewood, Colorado, is Western Union, which has been an ATD BEST Award winner more than a few times. Other notable companies with great learning cultures located in and around Denver include Edward Jones, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, and Progressive Insurance. The general area is growing as well; Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation puts the Denver metro area above the national average in employment growth and diversity in employment, with gains in all 11 BLS super-sectors. And with monthly events to attend as an ATD Rocky Mountain Chapter member, you might want to consider Denver in your next job search.