Workplace insights platform kununu has released a study revealing the best cities for employment happiness, based on over 87,000 workplace reviews from the last year. Since 2007, Kununu has been helping potential employees to gain insights on companies, so they know first-hand that happy employees are what make companies thrive. The platform wanted to find out if your geographical location has an affect on your career happiness, so they conducted a deep-dive investigation into employee contentment, looking at four key factors: company culture, teamwork, autonomy and support from management. The results reveal that Miami has the happiest employees, while New York City has the least happy employees. 

Phoenix ranks number 32 with a total score of 3.74 out of 5, which is in the bottom 20 among the cities studied.

“In an era that is characterized by the war for talent, it is all the more important to keep a close eye on these figures. We all know that people join organizations but leave their bosses. If leaders fail to create a supportive environment where people can thrive, this impacts not only employee’s moods and performance but also company’s retention rates tremendously,” says Johannes Prüller, Director Global Communications at kununu. “Cultivating a happy culture has always been a smart growth strategy for businesses.”

Key Findings

• Miami, FL (3.99) takes the top spot. Its growing technology scene alongside some of the world’s best beaches is greatly affecting employee happiness. With the growth of startups in the area comes high-paying jobs and happier company cultures focused on attracting the best talent and retaining key employees.

• Los Angeles, CA (3.95) came in second. While the city is known for film, TV and music, L.A.’s tech sector has exploded over the past few years. “Silicon Beach” as L.A. is often referred to due to its proximity to surf and sand, does not only offer an easy-going lifestyle and great weather, but is a hub of innovative companies with good job opportunities located outside of the San Francisco tech epicenter.

• Raleigh, NC (3.90) takes the third place. Part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Raleigh offers a high quality of living with relatively low costs compared to other cities. Raleigh has also a vibrant startup scene, including a robust community of companies, incubators, advisors and talent. Tech jobs in Raleigh are growing almost as quickly as in Silicon Valley.

• Louisville, KY (3.88) ranked fourth. The city on the Ohio river does not only offer The Kentucky Derby or Bourbon but has emerged as a major center for the health care and medical sciences industries within the last years. Louisville is home to America’s largest cluster of aging care business.

• Omaha, NE (3.86) ranked fifth. With a university system that is highly supportive for entrepreneurs, the city in the Midwest has become a promising area for startups to develop and grow with lots of fast-growing jobs in tech. The cost of living is much lower than in other cities and houses are affordable. This all creates an environment that encourages career growth and make people happy.

In general, US employees were happier than in the year before. The average happiness score improved from 3.18 to 3.57, a rise of 12.26%. Interestingly, Support from Management (3.37) ranked significantly lower than the other three factors that were analyzed by kununu’s data analytics team. Teamwork got an average rating of 3.65, Autonomy was at 3.72 and Company Culture got a score of 3.64.

How the study was conducted

The study is based on 8,327 employee reviews conducted within the last 12 months for companies located in the 50 most populous United States cities. On a scale from 1 (dissatisfied) to 5 (satisfied) kununu users rated:

• How happy they are with their employers

• How co-workers are interacting and working together

• If leadership sets realistic expectations and involves employees in the decision-making process

• To what extent they are trusted to work independently

• How they rate the overall company culture