Economic Sweet Spots for Tech, Finance and Health Care Workers

When it comes to finding the right balance of jobs, salaries and housing costs, not all areas are created equal.

With Silicon Valley workers living in vans and RVs and interns squatting in corporate offices, it’s clear that even a tech salary does not shield some workers from the vagaries of sky-high housing costs.

The good news is, there are tech jobs outside the Bay Area — and, in some places, workers have thousands of dollars left over each month after paying income taxes and housing costs.

The same is true for finance workers, who no longer have to brave New York City rents to build their careers. And health care workers can do well in markets where jobs in their field are as plentiful as the housing is affordable.

Zillow and LinkedIn analyzed a host of housing and employment data — from salaries to hiring to income tax rates — to determine which markets are well suited to technology, finance and health care workers.

The results held surprises. While the Bay Area doesn’t offer the best mix of employment and affordable housing, tech workers in San Francisco do manage to make up for the stratospheric cost of housing — the median home there is $833,600 — with their higher salaries. The average San Francisco tech worker ends the month with $140 more in disposable income than the average tech worker in Denver, where the median home value is $356,900. Tech renters also fare better in San Francisco than in Denver, with $591 more in monthly disposable income.

Still, Seattle is a better bet overall, with tech workers keeping $5,987 as disposable income if they own their homes, and $5,493 if they rent. Austin and Pittsburgh also pencil out better than the Bay Area.

Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix are sweet spots for finance workers, while Phoenix, Indianapolis and Boston are the best bets for health care workers.