Here Are The Unhappiest Cities to Work in the U.S., According to Kununu

Glassdoor-wannabe Kununu has released its happiest and unhappiest places to work in the U.S. Here are the winners and losers.

Happiest Cities to Work

  1. Fresno, California.
  2. Sacramento
  3. Louisville
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Omaha
  6. Boston
  7. Raleigh
  8. Wichita, Kansas.
  9. Miami
  10. Minneapolis

Unhappiest Cities to Work

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. New York City
  3. Colorado Springs
  4. Houston
  5. Albuquerque
  6. Memphis
  7. Oakland
  8. Ft. Worth, Texas
  9. Tulsa
  10. Phoenix

The data encompasses the last 12 months (July 2017 – June 2018), and the analysis was based on 82,854 employee reviews located in the the 50 most populous U.S. cities. To determine the cities with the greatest concentration of happy employees, kununu included four key factors they say drive an employee’s contentment. These are 1) company culture, 2) teamwork, 3) autonomy, and 4) support from management.

If you’re not familiar with Vienna-headquartered Kununu, you should probably get acquainted, particularly if you’re into the employer brand thing. The company is well-known in parts of Europe and has been powering Monster’s reviews for a few years now.  The company was founded in 2007 (same as Glassdoor) and acquired in 2013 by Xing.

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It expanded to the U.S. in 2016 and is realizing growth. “The Kununu brand is getting bigger and more global,” Kununu CEO Moritz Kothe said recently in a company update. “What was laughed at when it was founded more than 10 years ago, is now one of the most relevant sites for job seekers.”

It still has a long way to go, of course, with the likes of Glassdoor and Indeed enjoying the lion’s share of online employee reviews, but it has clearly shown a commitment to being serious about competing.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.


2 Comments on “Here Are The Unhappiest Cities to Work in the U.S., According to Kununu

  1. No cost of living? Salary? Work-life balance?

    Aren’t “autonomy” and “support from management” opposites? And, doesn’t company culture envelop all 3 other criteria?

    1. Hi Brian – thanks for your comment. all kununu reviews measure 18 dimensions of work life and we felt that the criteria discussed above were the strongest amongst the 18 that represent worker satisfaction. We use this same criteria for this type of data report in Europe as well, so we wanted to ensure that it was cohesive across the board.

      The way we look at Autonomy and Support from Management is a little different:
      – Autonomy for us is defined as the opportunity and/or percentage of time you are able to do work independently and without close oversight.
      – Support for management for us is defined as how much the manager sets realistic expectations, communicates clear goals and constructive feedback, and involves employees in the decision making process.
      Taken in this way they don’t necessarily contradict each other, if that’s what you’re implying.

      As for company culture – yes, it can include those other areas, but we ask people to think generally about the culture and then dig into each element (teamwork, autonomy and company culture) on its own. That way a review has the specific insights to show the strengths and weaknesses of an organization, versus a situation where someone gives a company two stars overall just because they don’t like their manager.

      Please do let us know if you have any other questions!

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