2019 Best Cities for Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance

Landing a job that provides a positive work-life balance is essential for many would-be employees and is also an attractive feature that many hiring managers point to when trying to fill a position. A recent survey reveals that geography may play a key role in that sought-for balance.

The survey, conducted by Kisi, notes the importance of work-life balance in careers.

“Whether in or out of the office, we understand the value of time and believe that dedicating too much of it to your job interferes with life outside of work, and vice-versa,” Kisi said. To that, the organization conducted its survey to determine in which cities residents have “the most well-rounded” work-life balance. The survey looked at 20 different factors, including work intensity, city livability and “the well-being and rights of their inhabitants.”

The survey analyzed 40 different cities in the United States using those 20 factors and also then conducted an additional study examining international cities. Three of the top five cities in the list are noted hubs of the biopharma industry.

Top Cities:

San Diego – Of all the cities surveyed, San Diego ranked highest among the cities with the best work-life balance. On average, people worked about 42.2 hours per week, with only 14% who worked more than 48 hours per week. For city livability, San Diego scored 87.3% for safety and 94.3% for happiness. Dubbed Biotech Beach by BioSpace, the San Diego area is one of BioSpace’s hotbed communities. The area has seen a 20% growth of its life sciences community over the past five years and has become a lynchpin of the California and U.S. life sciences industry. The area is home to numerous well-known players in the pharma industry, including Abbott, Iovance, Gossamer Bio, Crown Biosciences, Illumina, Human Longevity and many, many more.

Portland – This Oregon city came in at number two on the list with numbers that closely matched that of San Diego. Like the Southern California city, on average, people worked about 42.2 hours per week, with only 14% who worked more than 48 hours per week. Its safety score was 87.6% and its happiness score was 93.1%. Portland is part of the BioSpace Bio Forest Hotbed and the city and state combines to include about 19,157 bioscience jobs. The state’s life science ecosystem is comprised of five subsectors: agricultural feeds and stocks; drugs and pharmaceutical manufacturing; medical devices and equipment manufacturing; research, testing and medical labs; and bioscience-related distribution.

San Francisco – The birthplace of biotech, San Francisco ranked number three on the list. Employees average about 44 hours of work per week with only 14% working more than 48 hours. Its safety score was 84.4% and the happiness score was 93.1%. According to a Biocom report provided to BioSpace in June, the life sciences industry in the Bay Area saw total revenue of $135.6 billion and employment of about 134,000 people. The areas that received the most growth were biopharmaceutical manufacturing, medical devices and diagnostic equipment, as well as research and lab services.

Minneapolis – Coming in at number four is one half of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. Employees in Minneapolis work on average of 41.8 hours per week with 13% working more than 48 hours. Its safety score was 86% and the happiness level of the city was 94%. Among the companies that call Minneapolis home is Medtronic. Other companies also have a presence there, including Amgen and Daiichi Sankyo.

New York City – The Big Apple round out the top five with a happiness score of 92.2%. New York City has a safety score of 87% and employees work an average of 41.8 hours per week, with 14% pulling in more than 48 hours. With access to the financiers of Wall Street, as well as top universities, the Big Apple has become a boomtown for life sciences. Multiple companies have established incubators for biotech startups and state and local leaders have been dangling financial incentives for companies to locate in the city. Last year, a biannual report from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, revealed that New York City employs the most biotech research workers in the country.

Click to view our 2019 hotbed maps of biotech, pharma and medical device company clusters in the USA

Boston – The biotech hotbed of the East Coast came in at number seven on the list. Employees in Boston work an average of 42.9 hours per week, with 14% working more than 48 hours in the week. Bean Town has a safety ranking of 87.2% and a happiness ranking of 93.1%. Boston is home to some of the most cutting edge companies in the life sciences, with its satellite community of Cambridge serving as the place to do establish a presence for many companies across the globe. A recent report shows that as of the end of April 2019, 7.6 million square feet of space for companies in Boston was under construction, with about a third of it concentrated in Cambridge.

Seattle – Rounding out the top 10 is Seattle. At the end of January, Life Science Washington, the industry association in the state of Washington, issued a report that showed a 13% increase in employment across the state’s sector from 2014 to 2017. Those numbers represent the strongest employment growth for the industry in a decade. In 2018, Washington had more than $11.5 billion in life science transactions, which includes IPO’s, M&A activity and venture equity investments. According to the Kisi report, employees in Seattle worked an average of 43.3 hours, with 15% averaging more than 48 hours per week. Seattle scored an 85.4% for safety and a happiness score of 93.1%.

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