(NEXSTAR) – Another graduating class has secured their degrees and are preparing to find jobs in an economy and market vastly different from pre-pandemic years.

When it comes to the best American cities for young professionals to launch a career in 2023, neither San Francisco nor New York City cracked to the top five, according to a new study.

A new study from Bankrate found that younger generations have different values in today’s remote work-friendly environment.

“The coronavirus pandemic pushed flexible work to no longer be a transient response but an enduring feature of the working world,” according to Alex Gailey, Bankrate analyst. “More than ever, young workers crave work-life balance, the flexibility to work remotely and higher pay – and these cities offer what young professionals are looking for.”

An April survey from LinkedIn found that a whopping majority of Gen Z professionals, 87%, would consider walking away from an employer with values – ranging from diversity to work-life balance – that didn’t align with theirs.

The top metro area, according to Bankrate, is the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown area of Texas. See the top five below:

RankingMetro Area
1.Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
2.Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
3.Salt Lake City, UT
4.Raleigh-Cary, NC
5.Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN

The study’s authors looked at a number of factors including GDP per capita, year-over-year job growth, cost of living, entertainment options per capita, percentage of remote workers and more. Using those stats, they ranked the top 50 US metros based on three broad categories: affordability, employment opportunity and quality of life.

The Austin area ranked first for quality of life and third for employment, while its Pacific Northwest runner-up scored first for employment opportunities and fourth for quality of life. Austin was substantially more affordable, according to Bankrate, landing in 12th place while Seattle came out 20th.

“I didn’t really know anyone from there or who was moving there, but I kind of just fixated on it,” Ansley Bird, a 24-year-old who graduated from Wake Forest in 2021, told Bankrate. “I knew that Austin was a tech city, and that kind of goes hand in hand with job opportunities, so I knew it wasn’t gonna be a bad choice.”

If you’re fantasizing about buying a home in Austin, however, it may be worth remembering that, despite an 8% drop in the last year, average home sales in the Texas city skyrocketed during the pandemic. After jumping from roughly $398K in January, 2020 to $626K in July of last year, the average sale now hovers closer to $567K.

Rounding out the top 10 were Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas; Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California.

The study found that the worst five worst metros were:

RankingMetro Area
50.Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
49.Birmingham-Hoover, AL
48.Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA
47.Memphis, TN-MS-AR
46.New Orleans-Metairie, LA

Bankrate gave the Riverside area the worst possible ranking for employment opportunities and the lowly 47th spot when it comes to affordability. Birmingham, while affordable (14), ranked dead last for quality of life and 44th for employment opportunities.

Of the lowest ranked metros, the Sacramento area was the only one with a fairly high quality of life, coming in at 17. California’s capital city could have landed higher if it wasn’t for the cost of living (44) and employment opportunity rank (33).