St. George: No. 1 ‘happiest city’ for job-seeking college grads

Desert Hills Graduation

ST. GEORGE— It is graduation time of year and the job market is about to be flooded once again with young professionals seeking new careers and fresh opportunities to build their lives. It might please local families to know that St. George has been ranked the No. 1 “happiest city” for job-seeking graduates, at least according to CareerBliss.

CareerBliss, a leading online career community, identified the 10 best cities for job-seeking college grads, in terms of overall career happiness in conjunction with the average cost-of-living-adjusted salary. They found this by looking at the median pay for new grads in each city, and then examined the cost of living in each area, measured by the American Council For Community and Economic Research.

According to data CareerBliss recently compiled, St. George heads the list with a “Bliss Score” of 3.89 out of 5. The average annual salary for professionals in this southwestern metropolis is $60,781.

Some of the area’s largest employers are the Washington County School District, Dixie State University, Intermountain Health Care (Dixie Regional Medical Center), the City of St. George, and SkyWest Airlines.

CareerBliss CEO Heidi Golledge told Forbes: “Our data reveals that bigger cities are not always better for college grads. When it comes to salary and the cost of living for young professionals — some smaller metros outranked larger areas.”

“Clean air, thousands of acres of open space, recreation opportunities,” City Manager Gary Esplin said, “and all of the amenities one would expect in a metropolitan area with a rural feel appeals to college graduates entering the job market.”

Not to mention there is hardly a commute to work.

“The new generation of young professionals not only finds happiness at work important–they demand it,” Golledge said. “If a company wants to find and retain the best talent, they need to work on building a culture of happiness within their organization.”

Young employees are two to three times more likely than their parents to job hop, Golledge said, having the tendency to keep their resumés active on job boards in case a more fulfilling opportunity comes along.

“In short, they take the right to pursuit happiness to heart and will typically not stay at a job with poor conditions for very long,” Golledge said. “They will even relocate to get out of an unhappy work environment.”

The list below is based on the results of employee happiness surveys and cost of living adjusted average salaries for each city (see a more complete methodology below).


CareerBliss Happiest Cities For Job-Seeking College Grads

1. St. George, Utah

BlissScore: 3.89Average Salary: $61K

2. Charlotte, N.C.

BlissScore: 3.90Average Salary: $57K

3. Houston, Texas

BlissScore: 3.63Average Salary: $63K

4. Pittsburgh, Pa.

BlissScore: 3.85Average Salary: $53K

5. Detroit, Mich.

BlissScore: 3.71Average Salary: $65K

6. San Diego, Calif.

BlissScore: 3.73Average Salary: $75K

7. San Jose, Calif.

BlissScore: 3.80Average Salary: $82K

8. Seattle, Wash.

BlissScore: 3.64Average Salary: $71K

9. San Francisco, Calif.

BlissScore: 3.86Average Salary: $68K

10. Boston, Mass.

BlissScore: 3.78Average Salary: $64K


CareerBliss methodology

CareerBliss data evaluates the key factors that affect work happiness, including work-life balance, one’s relationship with his/her boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and job control over work performed on a daily basis. The data accounts for how an employee values each factor.  Each review is given an average score indicating where the company places between one and five. The following data was compiled from more than seven thousand independent company reviews from May 2012 to April 2013. A minimum of 50 reviews per job title was required for this data.  A young professional is defined as someone with less than ten years experience. The ranking for this particular data set also calculated the cost of living provided by American Council For Community and Economic Research.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @sarahisaacson1

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • Smoke Screen May 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    How much is the salary (taxpayer provided) of Gregg McCarthur? Is it enough government money to make him happy? And just how did he get the Executive Director position?

    • My Evil Twin May 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Who in the world are you talking about? Executive Director of WHAT?

      • Smoke Screen May 29, 2013 at 8:05 am

        Read the article. Did the city make up jobs for the mayor’s relatives? I bet they’re happy to get taxpayer provided positions and perks and benefits. This article is a joke. You can look as reports that claim high wage jobs in the city, but you can also ask around. Where are those jobs? I think the bulk of these so-claimed high paying jobs are government jobs. Your mayor is good at blowing smoke up your tailpipe. Remember his promises about helping core workers (teachers, police, etc) with affordable housing during the housing boom? Never happened. During the housing crash and unemployment that was much higher than the national average, again, nothing happened.

  • Mr. Bean May 26, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Haha. pretty cool, I might add, seeing metropolitan St George up there with all its much bigger cousins…If that’s not a slice of reality that this is no longer Mayberry, Utah, then I don’t know what is.

  • Tyler May 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    One word: Shocking. I get that the quality of life is grand here, but…….Never would have guessed in my wildest dreams that little STG had better wages than some large metro areas!

  • Skeptic in the 435 May 26, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    This is fishy to me. I’ve checked out both Forbes and and found nothing about this. Infact Forbes rated St. Louis number one, so maybe wanna recheck the “St.”? I find it odd that St George is the only standing small city in the list.

  • Jeckyll May 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

    To anyone looking for that original Forbes article, here it is

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