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Looking for Room to Grow? Here Are the Best U.S. Cities for Career Flexibility, Ranked

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Working flexibly in remote or hybrid models has quickly climbed the ranks of most common worker demands with two-thirds of workers reporting that remote work is one of the main drivers of workplace wellbeing. However, having career flexibility can mean much more than working from home some days a week or starting work at different hours. Ideally, your workplace should leave you enough leeway for whatever personal or professional growth plan you have in mind — whether that means climbing the corporate ladder, switching trades or getting a second job. Of course, remote work openings (as well as formative opportunities) also vary greatly depending on location.

So, for those on the lookout for the best places to live with room to grow professionally, we ranked the U.S. cities with the best career flexibility by awarding them points for indicators in the following categories:

  • Flexibility Opportunities (up to 50 points): hybrid jobs, part-time jobs, remote jobs, percentage of remote workers and self-employment
  • Commuting & Remote Readiness (up to 25 points): commute time, public transit fare, public transportation vehicles, coworking spaces and high-speed internet coverage
  • Career Growth & Economics (up to 25 points): job support services, trade schools, libraries, cost of living and unemployment

Keep reading for the list of the top 20 best U.S. cities for flexible careers or navigate to the separate regional rankings using the following jump links:


Atlanta Reigns as #1 City for Career Flexibility, Southern U.S. Home to 9 of 20 Top Entries


1 – Atlanta

Scoring top marks in three different metrics, Atlanta comfortably claimed the first spot in the ranking by scoring a total of 66.5 points compared to runner-up Miami’s 54.6. Notably, Atlanta had the highest share of hybrid and remote job listings per capita out of all 150 cities in the study, earning it top marks in both metrics. As one of the most remote worker-friendly cities in the U.S., the large density of flexible jobs comes as no surprise given the city’s economic background.

Additionally, ATL also had the list’s highest number of coworking spaces per 100,000 residents at 21.6, granting ample opportunities for additional flexibility when you need on-demand office amenities or a professional work environment. Furthermore, Atlanta’s commitment to the new work status quo is also evident in innovative developments like Toro Development’s overhaul of a disused office park or The Stitch — a massive, green space platform focused on transit-oriented development that’s set to begin construction in 2026.

2 – Miami

The South Florida powerhouse earned the #2 spot thanks to a strong showing across several metrics, especially those pertaining to flexible work infrastructure and career reorientation. Specifically, Miami had the second-highest coworking space density behind only Atlanta, as well as the second-best high speed internet coverage in the top 20. Taken together, these factors simplify the day-to-day work of any remote worker here.

Another one of Miami’s impressive results was its high concentration of trade schools with 6.3 such institutions per 100,000 residents. Available trade certifications in Miami include IT certifications from institutions like The Academy; graphic design from the South Florida Institute of Technology; medical and business administration from the Florida Career College at Miami; and much more. Consequently, workers in Miami have ample opportunities for career changes, retraining and specialization on top of the already-established advantages experienced by remote workers.

3 – Pittsburgh

The highest-ranking Northeastern entry on the list, Pittsburgh outpaced other regional contenders such as Boston and Rochester, N.Y. Pittsburgh’s best scores came from the career growth and economics category.

In particular, the Steel City had the second-highest concentration of both trade schools and libraries in the entire top 20, thereby highlighting it as a location with ample room for professional development and self-work. For example, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system is committed to offering Pittsburgh residents the opportunity to transform their lives through lifelong learning and digital literacy. This educational focus also stands in support of the city’s ongoing efforts to transform its economy from its industrial roots into a location with great potential for flexible careers.

4 – Salt Lake City

Moving West, Salt Lake City is the first Western entry on the list, standing out in several metrics. First, the city has a high-speed internet coverage of 96.8% — the best coverage out of all top 20 cities — meaning that digital professionals can carry out their jobs more efficiently wherever they log on.

Additionally, the city had remarkable showings in several more metrics: Specifically, Salt Lake City was the runner-up in remote job listing density (434 per 100,000 residents), had the second-shortest average commute (19.9 minutes) and claimed the second-highest density of public transportation vehicles (116 per 100,000 residents). As such, extra work flexibility here can be attained either by working from home or by wasting less time on commuting — granting more time for career development in any shape or form.

5 – Scottsdale, Ariz.

Scottsdale consistently has one of the highest percentages of remote workers out of anywhere in the U.S., standing at 34% based on the most recent available data. Moreover, the potential of flexible work in the city was also evidenced by the fact that it had the fourth-highest percentage of self-employed workers in the top 20 at just under 16%, as well as an unemployment rate of just 2.6%.

Here, robust traditional sectors, like health care and tourism — in conjunction with innovative fields, like finance and tech, particularly around the Airpark area — drive employment and offer plenty of promising opportunities for career flexibility and development.

6 – Minneapolis

Another successful Rust Belt rejuvenation story, Minneapolis reached #6 in our ranking of the most career progression-friendly cities. In particular, the City of Lakes has a high concentration of corporate headquarters in industries such as energy, finance and trade. At the same time, the city’s cost of living index of 93.6 (6.4% below the national average) makes it one of the best mid-sized cities in this regard, offering affordability on top of professional opportunities.

What’s more, the city had the highest number of job support services and organizations per capita among all 150 cities in the study. Organizations like American Job Centers, job clubs, and youth coordinating boards stand to the benefit all Minneapolis locals at a turning point in their career, whether they’re young people looking for guidance or even older professionals set on a job change.

7 – St. Louis

Staying in the Midwest, St. Louis stands out by being even more affordable than Minneapolis, as living costs here are 91.9% of the national average. Beyond that, St. Louis also has a high density of part-time jobs of 1,095 listings per 100,000 residents, which translates into entry-level options for young workers, as well as second job opportunities for those who want to make the most of the job flexibility they have. The city also has 638 LinkedIn hybrid job listings per 100,000 residents — the fourth-highest ratio in the top 20 — even as some of the city’s companies switch back to office-centric work models.

8 – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Fort Lauderdale offers many of the same advantages characteristic of runner-up Miami, which included great coverage for quality internet and high coworking density. What’s more, as many as 16.9% of workers in Fort Lauderdale are self-employed, making for the third-best showing out of all of the cities in the study in that metric. This means that from the high rises of Las Olas Boulevard to mom and pop shops in the suburbs, a higher share of Fort Lauderdale residents make their own schedule and thus have more chances to develop professional skills.

9 – Washington, D.C.

Beyond jobs in the government sector, Washington, D.C. is home to more than 500,000 workers in professional services, 200,000 tech workers and more than 250,000 professionals in health care and life sciences according to nonprofit economic development partnership WDCEP. This unique composition makes D.C. one of the best candidates on the list for flexibility opportunities, even if the District didn’t score as well in the other two categories. Similarly, the country’s capital is home to 791 hybrid job listings and 349 remote job listings for every 100,000 residents, placing it third and fourth in those categories, respectively.

10 – Seattle

As many as 36% of Seattleites work remotely, making Seattle the U.S. city with the second-best remote work adoption in the U.S. Of course, the high level of jobs with flexible terms available here is due, in no small part, to Emerald City’s innovative business environment, with tech, life sciences, aerospace and more contributing to the city’s employment opportunities. Otherwise, on-site workers also stand to benefit from Seattle’s great public transit system: The city earned full marks for its public transportation vehicle density, despite a relatively lengthier average commute of 25.8 minutes.

Interested in more details about the top 20 best cities for career flexibility and more? Use the buttons above the chart to see which cities from each region scored the best. Or, use the drop-down list of metrics to see which selected cities had the best showings in individual metrics.


Regional Rankings: Best Cities for Flexible Careers in the South, West, Northeast & Midwest

The upper echelons of our list were dominated by the Southern U.S., which recorded nine of the 20 best locations for career freedom and mobility. Then, the Western U.S. followed with five entries, while the Northeast and Midwest had three entries each in the top 20.

That said, we also set out to highlight more than just the regional powerhouses when it came to job flexibility. To that end, we also highlighted the 10 best cities from each region based on their scores in the overall national list.

Southern U.S.: Florida Records 4 of 10 Best Regional Entries for Job Flexibility

The South was home to the overall winner in our complete ranking with Atlanta. Next door, the Sunshine State also shined brightly not only for being home to runner-up Miami, but also for claiming three additional entries among the South’s best cities for career flexibility.

Besides Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (which also made the national top 20 list), Florida’s Tampa and Orlando can also be counted among the best Southern locations for flexible careers. Specifically, Tampa, Fla., had the second-lowest cost of living among the South’s 10 best cities, as well as the second-most trade schools per capita. Beyond tourism — which is a mainstay of the local economy — job growth here is also driven by numerous flexible work-friendly industries, like finance and a growing tech sector.

Meanwhile, Orlando, Fla.’s advantages include a low average public transportation fare, in addition to a high concentration of part-time jobs — which can prove advantageous for those with schedules that can fit a second job. In short, all Florida entries are strong options for those on the lookout for professional flexibility in different forms.

Further north, Richmond, Va., stood out in some categories while simultaneously being dragged down by its performance in others. Here, the state capital boasts the second-highest concentration of part-time job listings in the entire study (more than 1,500 per 100,000 residents — second only to Rochester, N.Y.), on top of the shortest commute, cheapest public transportation fare and best cost of living among the South’s 10 best entries. This not only propelled it to #5 in the regional ranking, but also made it the 11th-best city nationwide. But, Richmond stopped there in the standings due to factors such as its relatively higher unemployment; low percentage of self-employed or remote workers; and scarcity of high-speed internet networks.

Staying in state, Alexandria, Va., had several advantages in common with neighboring Washington, D.C. First, D.C. and Alexandria had the highest and second-highest concentrations of remote workers in the South, respectively, likely due to the remote-readiness of their major economic industries. What’s more, Alexandria also benefits from the D.C. metro area’s robust transportation network, which includes buses, light rail, metro and streetcar lines. But, where Alexandria fared even better than the nation’s capital was in unemployment and job support services. Plus, forward-looking projects like the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus set to open in 2025 will further boost the city’s job market outlook.

Last, but not least, the Lone Star State’s only entry among the South’s 10 best was Austin, Texas, which is unsurprising given the metro’s reputation for innovation and flexibility. Austin stood out for its great education opportunities through a high concentration of libraries, as well as one of the shortest average commute times in the South.

Western U.S.: 10 Best Locations for Flexible Careers Span 7 States

The best locations for flexible jobs and potential for career development in the Western U.S. spanned as many as seven different states. As expected, California claimed the most entries with three, but the best-scoring Western cities — which also cracked the top 10 of the nationwide ranking above — were Salt Lake City; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Seattle.

Overall, the best cities for flexible careers in the Western U.S. included a mix of fast-paced tech hubs, as well as smaller cities with lower population counts.

For example, San Francisco had the highest density of hybrid job listings, as well as a large number of remote job listings and remote workers, making it one of the most promising areas in the region in that regard. However, southern California’s Pasadena and Irvine also ranked among the West’s best career flexibility entries: Pasadena earned the highest regional score for percentage of self-employed residents and trade schools per capita, while Irvine had the second-best showings in the public transportation fare and coworking density metrics. It’s worth noting that their location in metro Los Angeles makes them strong contenders for flexible work in the LA area, with each location having its own unique perks.

In the Pacific Northwest, Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., also fit the bill for lower-population cities with great career opportunities. In fact, Boise had the best region-wide showing across no fewer than five different metrics — average commute time (19.4 minutes), base public transport fare ($1), library density (2.6 per 100,000 residents), cost of living (93.9% of the national average) and unemployment (1.9%). Similarly, Spokane boasted the highest density of job support services in the region at 2.6 per 100,000 residents, while also having a relatively short average commute time and great affordability. In short, the West’s lower-density cities may have fewer listings for flexible jobs than their higher-population counterparts, but they certainly present other advantages that can benefit career progression or self-improvement.

Even so, no list of hubs for flexible work in the Western U.S. would be complete without tech powerhouses Denver and Portland, Ore. First, Denver evidenced itself with a high density of hybrid job listings — losing out only to San Francisco and Salt Lake City for that metric — as well as great high-speed internet coverage. At the same time, Portland, Ore.’s middling scores were supplemented by the second-highest density of libraries in the West, which includes Multnomah County Central Library, St. Johns, North Portland and much more.

Northeastern U.S.: Best Career-Positive Cities Hail From Pennsylvania, New England & Upstate New York

A single Northeastern entry cracked the national top 10 list in Pittsburgh, thanks to its high concentration of job-centric institutions and trade schools. Nevertheless, the region is home to several other promising cities for career growth and flexibility across the Atlantic Coast, as well as inland.

New England was home to several of the Northeast’s most promising entries with the region’s beating heart in Boston leading the way. More precisely, Boston’s biggest wins were its high density of hybrid and remote job listings — 888 and 377 per 100,000 residents, respectively — making it the Northeast’s best city in that regard. Likewise, other metros in which the city fared well included public transit density and coworking space density, which benefits Boston’s life sciences-empowered flexible work scene.

Staying in Massachusetts, Springfield earned the spot of fifth-best city for career flexibility in the Northeast due to its libraries per capita and large number of part-time job listings. Plus, with significant employment in financial services, health care, and education, Springfield residents have plenty of options when it comes to either career progression or getting a second job.

Elsewhere in New England, Providence, R.I.one of the Northeast’s fastest-growing areas — is another one of the area’s most promising career hubs. That’s because more than 10% of workers here are self-employed and unemployment sits at 4.5%, making for some of the region’s better showings in those categories. Further down the coast, New Haven, Conn., and Bridgeport, Conn., finished at #9 and #10, respectively, marking the final entries from New England on the Northeastern regional list.

Not to be outdone, upstate New York was also well-represented with three cities among the Northeast’s best for career flexibility. The best-performing of the trio was Rochester, N.Y., which ranked as the third-best city in the region and the 15th-best nationally thanks to strong showings in part-time job listing density, job support services and more. Then, Syracuse, N.Y., followed at #4 by boasting the shortest commute time in the region, as well as the cheapest public transit base fare. Finally, Buffalo, N.Y., reached #8 in the Northeast with good marks across the board, though its strongest suit was its affordability with a cost of living 5.4% below the national average.

The Northeastern list was completed by Jersey City, N.J., at #6 with the region’s highest share of remote workers (25%) and lowest unemployment (3.7%).

Midwestern U.S.: Minneapolis, St. Louis & Cincinnati Lead

The Midwest was home to several of the national ranking’s best-scoring entries, which is a testament to the urban renewal and economic modernization efforts in the region. These entries included Minneapolis and St. Louis, which ranked as the sixth- and seventh-best cities nationwide, respectively, although the Midwest’s other top-ranking cities also have plenty to offer for those looking for flexibility.

Here, Cincinnati was crowned the Midwest’s third-best city for career progression and flexibility, as well as the 17th-best nationwide out of a total of 150 entries. As one of the industrial and transportation powerhouses of the Midwest, Cincinnati features one of the highest concentrations of trade schools in the region with a lengthy history. At the same time, growing high-performance industries — like life sciences and advanced manufacturing — continue to transform the local economy, resulting in a high density of hybrid jobs and contributing to the city’s strong finish.

The remaining entries were spread across several states. For example, Missouri claimed two additional entries besides the aforementioned St. Louis. At #8 in the region, Springfield, Mo. — one of the fastest-growing economic centers in the state — boasted the lowest cost of living, as well as great showings in commute time and trade school density. Then, at #10, Kansas City, Mo., earned above-average points for self-employment and a low unemployment rate, but scored lower in metrics such as hybrid and remote jobs; commute time; and public transportation vehicle density.

Across the border, Kansas claimed the second-highest number of entries with two: Overland Park, Kan., and Topeka, Kan., made #5 and #9 in the Midwest, respectively. Overland Park featured the highest density of remote workers and self-employed individuals in the Midwest, while Topeka shone in the commuting categories. Clearly, either Kansas entry would offer strong advantages to professionals seeking flexibility in different forms, whether that’s ease of commuting or flexible work models.

The remaining best locations for flexible work terms in the Midwest were: Madison, Wis., at #4; Grand Rapids, Mich., at #6; and Des Moines, Iowa, at #7.

See the visual below for the complete standings across all 150 cities included in the study. To search for a particular city, use the search bar in the top left. Keep in mind that only the 150 largest U.S. cities by population that had complete data across all indicators were included. Alternatively, use the arrow in the top right to navigate to the following pages and see more entries beyond the top 20.

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