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Want to Earn a Huge Salary? New Study Reveals the Most and Least Competitive US Cities for the Best-paying Jobs

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You don’t need to be in the top 1% to know that the top jobs with the top salaries attract the most (and best) candidates. And you don’t need to be a genius to understand that finding ways to set yourself apart is key to making yourself the best candidate.

And you probably know that competition for jobs is much hotter in some cities.

But do you know which US cities are the most competitive for jobs? Or where you can go to significantly improve your chances of getting a yes?

If not, then this latest study from is for you. It’s based on data from LinkedIn, which was then used to rank every US state and major city based on the number of daily job applicants for local, highly paid jobs.

Here’s a summary of the results:

Utah has the Most Competitive City for High-paying Jobs

There’s a bit of a surprise at the top of the list for the most competitive US cities for high-paying jobs. Because it’s not New York or Los Angeles. It isn’t even San Francisco.

Instead, it’s in Utah. Salt Lake City sees the highest number of applicants for the best paying jobs. According to the data collected by, there are 34.9 daily applicants for every high-paying job.

But it’s not that much of a shock. Or at least for those who know what’s going on around Salt Lake.

Salt Lake City is one of the USA’s up-and-coming cities. Its booming tech and startup scene, otherwise known as the “Silicon Slopes,” is attracting a highly skilled workforce, pushing up competition for the best jobs.

And with its affordable cost of living compared to other tech hubs and stunning natural surroundings, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of well-educated professionals are moving to Salt Lake to land a top job.

Every US State’s Most Competitive City for Jobs

Next up, the researchers turned their attention to the most competitive city in every US state.

There’s some seriously hot competition in San Jose’s exclusive job market. There are just under 30 daily applicants per best-paying job in San Jose, making it California’s most competitive city.

Denver is another major city where you’ll be up against a large pool of super-talented applicants. Employers advertising the best paying jobs in Colorado’s most competitive city receive 31 applications every single day.

There’s no prize for guessing the state of New York’s most competitive city. Because it’s New York City, which continues to be a popular location for top talent from all across the globe.

The Least Competitive Cities

Applicants who want to improve their odds of landing a top-paying job should consider chasing their fortune in Parkersburg, West Virginia. It’s officially the least competitive city in the study, averaging out at 0 applicants per day. In other words, these top-paying jobs are here for the taking – you just need to get to Parkersburg first.

Several other cities have next to zero daily applicants for jobs that pay the big bucks. They include Nampa, Idaho; Butte, Montana; and Sitka, Alaska.

If you’re looking for larger (and more recognizable) cities where you won’t be up against hundreds of other applicants, then Green Bay in Wisconsin and Shreveport in Los Angeles are your best bets. Recruiters for the most sought-after job in these cities are sorting through less than one CV per day.

Least Competitive City in Every State

Texas has become the go-to state for high-flyers abandoning California. As such, competition for the most desired jobs in Dallas and Houston is rising. So we may start to see more Californian expats move to Laredo instead, which has a far less competitive job market (just 0.03 daily applicants.)

Colorado Springs is one of the best places to live in the USA. Resting at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains, it offers a unique blend of stunning natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a vibrant cultural scene. And if you have the right qualifications, you have a great chance of landing a top job, too. Because with a daily application rate of 0.44 for well-paid roles, Colorado Springs is the state of Colorado’s least competitive city.

Bennington, Vermont, is another city where you’re almost guaranteed to get at least an interview for a job with a great starting salary. It’s one of the few cities that receives 0 daily applicants when averaged out.

The Most Competitive US States for High Salary Jobs

The last part of the study focuses on how competitive each state is when it comes to the best-paying jobs.

For the second time in the research, Utah takes the top spot (22.6 applications.)

Missouri isn’t far behind. It averages 19.2 daily applications for top jobs advertised all across the state.

Other high scorers include California (15.2 applications), Hawaii (15.2 applications), and Colorado (17.1 applications).

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Taylor Tomita