Thursday, January 18, 2018
Business

Trigaux: All we hear is jobs, jobs, jobs, so why is Florida absent from this list?

In an in-depth ranking of the nation's 25 best cities to find jobs and satisfaction by doing so, not one city in Florida makes the cut.

Silicon Valley and San Francisco, despite their stratospheric costs of living, made it. So did such diverse cities as Detroit, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Chicago and Atlanta.

But Florida, for all its self-promotion about "jobs, jobs, jobs," comes up with a goose egg, zilch, on this top 25-city list analyzed by the jobs website Glassdoor.

What gives?

Glassdoor looked at four factors in picking the best jobs cities in 2016. First: How easy is it to get a job? Second: How affordable is it to live there? Third: How satisfied are employees working there? And fourth: How's the pay?

The top six cities in the Glassdoor rankings (Silicon Valley/San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Washington and Austin, Texas) are longtime standouts as technology leaders. Glassdoor and other workplace surveys have long found tech employees tend to have higher job satisfaction (including pay), even if they live in high-priced cities. Silicon Valley/San Jose got the highest job score from Glassdoor with a median base salary of $112,000 and despite a median home value of $965,500.

Perhaps this survey sheds some light on why places like California may be less alarmed when Florida Gov. Rick Scott comes trolling for jobs with a message that Florida has plenty of work and lower taxes. That pitch may attract some folks disenchanted with the high cost of living in California. But it does not address the issue of overall workplace satisfaction that places like California, with its high-tech base and truly innovative giants like Apple and Google, can offer.

Yet the 25-city ranking also includes lower-cost places ranging from Detroit to Pittsburgh. Of the 25 best cities for jobs, nearly half are in the Midwest. Most of those remaining are concentrated in the West and in the Northeast.

Only two of the 25 are in the Southeast. Raleigh, N.C., known for its educated population, ranked No. 8 after ranking No. 1 in the country in 2015. Atlanta also made this year's cut at No. 24, down from 17 in 2015. Three other Southeastern cities to make last year's top 25 — Memphis, Nashville and Richmond, Va. — did not make 2016's list.

So, Florida and Tampa Bay, what's the bottom line?

As a state, we remain fixated on job quantity over job quality. We celebrate, rightfully, year after year of record tourism. But we fail to admit that industry relies on low-wage jobs. And while technology jobs are clearly growing in Florida and Tampa Bay, remember that tech opportunities are growing fast in many metro areas. Alone, tech growth can't assure success.

To become a real player on the national "best jobs" scene, Florida's cities, universities, economic development leaders and business communities appear to be on the right track. But clearly they need to step it up and push each other — if this state really wants to be a 21st century competitor.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

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