Personal Finance

The Cities With the Unhappiest Workers

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Of the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, Pittsburgh has the least satisfied workers, according to the 2014 Employment Satisfaction Report from career site Glassdoor. The low ranking stemmed from Pittsburghers’ feeling the city has few career opportunities. Workers there aren’t particularly optimistic about business growth, either: 45% said they think it’ll stay about the same year over year, which makes it one of the most stagnant metropolitan statistical areas on the list (MSAs are determined by the U.S. Census Bureau).

The report is based solely on employee sentiment – it doesn’t matter how many opportunities there are to start a career or build a business in Pittsburgh, it’s about how its workers perceive the work environment in the city. It’s not like Pittsburgh is a distant last place, either. In the survey, employees were asked to rank their satisfaction in various aspects of their jobs using a five-point scale, with 1 as the lowest level of satisfaction, 3 as “just OK,” and 5 as “very satisfied.”

Pittsburghers had a 3.1 average on the scale, but so did nine other cities. Rankings were determined by the thousandth decimal point. On the high end, San Jose, Calif., took the title of most satisfied workers with a 3.5-point average. San Francisco was No. 2 at 3.4, and it’s a good thing those Bay Area employees are happy, because they deal with the highest rents in the nation. One would hope the jobs are worth the cost of living.

10 Cities With the Least Satisfied Workers

There isn’t a common thread among metro areas with a low employee-satisfaction rating – they include cities in several geographical areas, and populations vary widely. All had a 3.1-point average satisfaction rating. The prevalence of unemployment in the area seemed to have no bearing on workers’ perceptions, either, as San Jose and Pittsburgh both had an unemployment rate of 5.3% in May 2014 (lower than the national average), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are the 10 metro areas with the least-satisfied workers:

10. Milwaukee
9. Charlotte, N.C.
8. Riverside, Calif.
7. Portland, Ore.
6. Buffalo, N.Y.
5. Phoenix
4. Tampa, Fla.
3. Las Vegas
2. Denver
1. Pittsburgh

The rankings are based on local employee feedback to Glassdoor during the past 12 months.

Sometimes, a low level of satisfaction means it’s time for a job or career change, and while making a big shift like that may be your best choice in the long run, you need to plan for short-term challenges, many of which may fall in the financial realm.

Having debt can also have a huge bearing on your feeling toward work. Perhaps you’re not too happy with your current job situation, but you feel you can’t make a change because you have to meet your debt obligations. You may not be stuck – it won’t be easy, but you can keep your debt from holding you back by taking charge of your financial situation and making a plan to move forward.

Start by reviewing your free annual credit reports and your credit scores so you know where you stand and what you have to improve (you get free access to your credit data through Credit.com). Consider loan consolidation, aggressively tackling your student loans or settling collections accounts so you can stop feeling hung up on debt and start embracing career flexibility.

More on Managing Debt:

Image: iStock

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