Official Press Release

The U.S. Cities With The Highest Salary Satisfaction

Recent research from employer review site kununu, reveals Washington, DC ranks the highest city in the U.S. for salary satisfaction

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Money can’t buy happiness. But for many employees, salary is still a major factor for workplace satisfaction. At the same time, compensation is more than just numbers. It also involves employees’ honest sentiment about their pay and if they think the salary is compatible with the job title and responsibilities they have.

To generate the salary satisfaction index, employer review platform kununu gathered data on the 50 most populous US cities from 2017 and asked their users from those locations whether they feel they are fairly compensated for their work. Some cities that are ranked high in the index are not too surprising: Based on 68,378 respondents, Washington takes the top spot. San Francisco, Boston, New York and Los Angeles are also among the top cities.

“Some of these cities are dominated by high wage industries like tech and finance – and therefore tend to receive high ratings in salary satisfaction too. However, as our salary satisfaction index shows, you shouldn’t preclude midsize cities when searching for a new job,” says Johannes Prüller, head of global communications & insights at kununu.

In general, US employees were more satisfied with their salary in 2017 than in the year before. On a 5-point-scale, the average score for compensation improved from 2.82 to 3.11 from 2016 to 2017. But even with this positive change, kununu’s data also shows that compensation was not among the top workplace satisfaction contributors overall. Among the 18 workplace dimensions that kununu measures from employees, compensation only comes in 15th within the last 12 months.

“A competitive pay rate is a great way to attract new talent. But you cannot buy employee motivation. Creating a strong culture with good teamwork, offering a challenging work with a purpose and giving employees autonomy is equally important to retain your best talent in the long-run,” says Prüller.

The 10 best cities for salary satisfaction:

Rank City Score
1 Washington, DC 3.32
2 Minneapolis, Minnesota 3.21
3 Seattle, Washington 3.21
4 San Francisco, California 3.18
5 Columbus, Ohio 3.14
6 Boston, Massachusetts 3.13
7 Sacramento, California 3.13
8 Omaha, Nebraska 3.12
9 New York City, New York 3.11
10 Los Angeles, California 3.10

Source:; 69,378 reviews; Factor: compensation; 5-point-scale: 1 (dissatisfied) – 5 (very satisfied).

Headquartered in Vienna and leading the European market, kununu launched in the U.S. last year in a joint venture with Monster and has already collected more than 2.3 million reviews from over half a million employers. Reviews on kununu are broken down into 18 key dimensions of workplace satisfaction to provide job seekers with workplace insights that really matter in order to make sound work-life decisions, while helping HR teams identify the factors that drive happiness at work.


kununu is the original employer review and ratings platform committed to creating transparency in the workplace. kununu helps people who are taking an active role in their career progression and want to learn more about companies that might be the right fit. kununu launched in the U.S. in 2016 and has collected over 500,000 reviews and more than 2 million data points in the last 12 months. Reviews are broken down into 18 key dimensions of workplace satisfaction to help Talent and HR teams attract and retain quality candidates, while providing job seekers with workplace insights that matter to make sound work-life decisions. With global headquarters in Vienna, Austria, kununu is the leading employer review platform in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company was founded in 2007 and acquired by XING AG in 2013. See more about kununu at


Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu

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