Your dream job pops up in a cool city. You apply, interview and nab the job, but there’s a catch that cuts your celebration short: even with your new salary, you can't afford to live there. This problem with increasing cost of living is happening more and more in cities that are known for their talent attraction.
Take Seattle, Washington for example. According to Emsi’s annual Talent Attraction Scorecard, Seattle ranks high in talent attraction, coming in at number five in the country. As America’s fastest-growing tech hub, it’s not a question of if Seattle is attracting top talent or not. The question is: what happens when top talent can't afford to stay?
The cost of living in Seattle is now 52.8 percent higher than the nation’s average, and it’s not just housing that has become increasingly pricey. Seattle's average prices for basic purchases like haircuts, dry cleaning and even hamburgers are among the highest in the nation, and these things add up. Tack on the fact that the Seattle area’s housing market surged by up to 93 percent in a year with a record-shattering median home price of $2.7 million, and it's clear that living here requires some serious dough.
These statistics are a big turnoff for job seekers and even for employees already working and living in these high-cost areas. In fact, DCI’s Talent Wars report listed cost of living as the biggest factor in relocation decisions, stating, "even locations with the highest salaries are losing talent because sky-high rents are outpacing paychecks."
Even though Seattle’s average wages are higher than most cities in America, recent IRS data shows that half of Seattle’s filers reported earnings below $50,000.