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Cities With the Most Experienced Workers

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Having experience — at any job — is valuable and often compensated accordingly, especially if the occupation is highly skilled. Who wouldn’t prefer a surgeon with a few years of experience versus someone who may have yet to hold a scalpel. Similarly, as consumers, we prefer a financial advisor who has been through markets ups and downs and a plumber or electrician who’s seen and encountered different problems before.

Employers, too, may prefer more experienced professionals, especially for more skilled jobs and for those above entry-level. Whether it is because experienced workers flock there or because employers that require experience flock there, some cities have workers with considerably more experience than others.

To determine the 40 cities with the most experienced workers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on employment by occupation from the Occupational Requirements Survey and Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics programs of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cities were ranked based on the average number of hours of experience workers had prior to starting their current jobs.

In all but five cities on the list, the bachelor’s degree attainment rate is higher than the national average of 35.6%. Similarly, in 30 of the 40 cities, the average annual wage is higher than the national average of $65,470, with the San Jose metro area boasting an average wage of $113,730, the highest of any city on the list. The metro synonymous with Silicon Valley also has the most experienced workers, at an average of nearly 1,100 days prior to their current job. Workers have an average experience of 862 days in Manchester, New Hampshire, the lowest on the list but considerably greater than the opposite list we recently did. There, workers have 720 days of experience or less under their belt. (These are the Cities With the Least Experienced Workers.)

Why This Matters

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For employers, experienced workers are an asset, and they often aim to keep such professionals by providing higher wages and better benefits. People who have considerable experience in their field but are unable to find a job with a salary commensurate with their level of experience may want to consider looking at one of the cities listed here.

Full Methodology

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To determine the cities with the most experienced workers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on physical demands and employment by occupation from the Occupational Requirements Survey and Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics programs of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cities were ranked based on the average number of hours of experience employed workers had prior to starting their current jobs. Occupation-level data was aggregated from the ORS to the metropolitan statistical area level using employment counts from the OEWS. Supplemental data on average annual salary for all workers is also from the OEWS. Data on the percentage of adults 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey and are one-year estimates. Concentration by occupation is measured by location quotient.

40. Manchester, NH

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 862 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $66,490
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; cooks, short order; postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators

39. Madison, WI

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 863 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.5%
  • Avg. annual salary: $66,020
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Animal scientists; microbiologists; farm and home management educators

38. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

Downtown Los Angeles, Sunset, California
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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 865 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.6%
  • Avg. annual salary: $73,400
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes; special effects artists and animators; sound engineering technicians

37. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 865 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.5%
  • Avg. annual salary: $64,360
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Model makers, metal and plastic; engine and other machine assemblers; mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

36. Carson City, NV

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 867 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 24.0%
  • Avg. annual salary: $62,060
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Forest and conservation technicians; community health workers; environmental scientists and specialists, including health

35. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 868 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $64,440
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Extruding and forming machine setters, operators, and tenders, synthetic and glass fibers; textile winding, twisting, and drawing out machine setters, operators, and tenders; textile bleaching and dyeing machine operators and tenders

34. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 869 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.8%
  • Avg. annual salary: $66,910
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Media and communication equipment workers; miscellaneous construction and related workers; athletes and sports competitors

33. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 869 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.1%
  • Avg. annual salary: $62,790
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Agricultural technicians; actuaries; soil and plant scientists

32. Burlington-South Burlington, VT

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 870 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 52.8%
  • Avg. annual salary: $66,850
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Community and social service specialists; film and video editors; extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

31. Lansing-East Lansing, MI

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 874 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 33.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $61,760
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Farm and home management educators; statistical assistants; soil and plant scientists

30. Jefferson City, MO

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 875 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.3%
  • Avg. annual salary: $52,740
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Statisticians; conservation scientists; legislators

29. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 877 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.1%
  • Avg. annual salary: $61,860
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians; aerospace engineers; electronics engineers, except computer

28. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 878 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.0%
  • Avg. annual salary: $63,510
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Petroleum engineers; petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers; derrick operators, oil and gas

27. Tallahassee, FL

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 882 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.2%
  • Avg. annual salary: $52,680
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Psychiatric aides; office and administrative support workers; judicial law clerks

26. Portsmouth, NH-ME

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 882 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: N/A
  • Avg. annual salary: $68,480
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Engineering technologists and technicians, except drafters; electrical and electronics repairers, commercial and industrial equipment; cooks, short order

25. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 884 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.9%
  • Avg. annual salary: $82,050
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Fashion designers; transit and railroad police; word processors and typists

24. Provo-Orem, UT

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 895 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $60,080
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Plasterers and stucco masons; umpires, referees, and other sports officials; credit counselors

23. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 896 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.4%
  • Avg. annual salary: $65,860
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Semiconductor processing technicians; aircraft cargo handling supervisors; plant and system operators

22. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 897 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.0%
  • Avg. annual salary: $76,010
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Entertainment attendants and related workers; marriage and family therapists; biological scientists

21. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 899 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $72,350
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Semiconductor processing technicians; personal care and service workers; computer hardware engineers

20. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 900 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 45.1%
  • Avg. annual salary: $70,290
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Gambling service workers; prepress technicians and workers; industrial engineering technologists and technicians

19. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 903 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.6%
  • Avg. annual salary: $73,130
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Actuaries; lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic; teaching assistants, postsecondary

18. Olympia-Tumwater, WA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 907 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.7%
  • Avg. annual salary: $68,880
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Epidemiologists; health education specialists; zoologists and wildlife biologists

17. Raleigh, NC

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 914 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.8%
  • Avg. annual salary: $66,230
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Farm and home management educators; life scientists; surveying and mapping technicians

16. Salt Lake City, UT

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 916 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.9%
  • Avg. annual salary: $65,880
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Mathematicians; historians; bioengineers and biomedical engineers

15. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 919 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.5%
  • Avg. annual salary: $82,180
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Archivists; landscape architects; manicurists and pedicurists

14. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 922 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 49.4%
  • Avg. annual salary: $75,910
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers; cartographers and photogrammetrists; information and record clerks

13. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 929 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 44.4%
  • Avg. annual salary: $72,470
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Healthcare practitioners and technical workers; physical scientists; food science technicians

12. Midland, TX

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 931 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.0%
  • Avg. annual salary: $67,370
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Service unit operators, oil and gas; derrick operators, oil and gas; wellhead pumpers

11. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 941 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 46.9%
  • Avg. annual salary: $86,520
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Avionics technicians; aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers; tapers

10. Huntsville, AL

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 943 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.9%
  • Avg. annual salary: $67,120
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Aerospace engineers; engineers; atmospheric and space scientists

9. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 962 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 51.4%
  • Avg. annual salary: $84,490
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Biochemists and biophysicists; bioengineers and biomedical engineers; communications equipment operators

8. Trenton, NJ

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 968 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 46.4%
  • Avg. annual salary: $77,980
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Natural sciences managers; biochemists and biophysicists; environmental scientists and specialists, including health

7. Austin-Round Rock, TX

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 968 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 52.1%
  • Avg. annual salary: $69,150
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Geographers; tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents; fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators

6. Durham-Chapel Hill, NC

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 969 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 50.6%
  • Avg. annual salary: $75,590
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Life scientists; statisticians; biological scientists

5. Boulder, CO

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 999 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 63.2%
  • Avg. annual salary: $87,220
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Astronomers; physicists; aerospace engineers

4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 1,001 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 53.6%
  • Avg. annual salary: $97,460
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Taxi drivers; biological scientists; biochemists and biophysicists

3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 1,033 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 54.5%
  • Avg. annual salary: $88,370
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Political scientists; economists; astronomers

2. California-Lexington Park, MD

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 1,082 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 40.6%
  • Avg. annual salary: $84,650
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Aerospace engineers; computer and information research scientists; electronics engineers, except computer

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

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  • Avg. prior work experience, all workers: 1,099 days
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 55.8%
  • Avg. annual salary: $113,730
  • Highly concentrated occupations: Computer hardware engineers; semiconductor processing technicians; computer and information research scientists

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