5 Cities for Ambitious Women in Business in 2020 and Beyond Austin Startups – Medium

Where should the next generation of female businesswomen settle to make the most of their talents?

Will Hinch

Making your way through the world of business is difficult for women. Progress is being made towards a more equal and just society, but in the meantime, businesswomen need to be smart and tough to achieve their business goals, either as part of a company or when going it alone.

If you’re a woman looking to make waves in the business world over the next decade, where’s the best place to relocate to? I delved into the research to find out.

The Big Picture

Like I mentioned, progress is being made to even out the playing field and make it fairer for women in business. But progress is slow.

According to the US Census Bureau, working women earned 81.6 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2018. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, parity could take another 30 years.

The representation of women in executive roles in business falls well below men too. In key industries like law, politics, medicine, and academia, women hold significantly fewer than half of executive positions, despite earning more than half of all undergrad degrees.

There is better news when you look at the growth of female-owned businesses. Between 2018 and 2019, U.S. women started 1,817 new businesses every day — which is 42% of all businesses.

This is all at the national level, but recent research has shed light on how different cities across the country compare against each other on these and other key yardsticks for progress. For women looking to make it in business in 2020 and beyond, here are the top five places to consider relocating to.

1. Austin, Texas

The study looked at how much progress each of the top 50 US cities have made towards gender equality in business over the last 10 years, drawing on resources such as the United States Census Bureau and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Austin, one the country’s most exciting growth areas, was judged to be the best upcoming city for women in business.

22.75% of all businesses in Austin are owned by women. The figure grew by 1.7% in the 2010s, making it the second highest growth area across the U.S. Austin was also placed in the top 20 for the rate at which it’s closing its gender pay gap. If the current rate continues, women in Austin will earn over 91 cents to each dollar earned by men come 2030.

Where Austin truly shines is the opportunity the city provides. A bustling, vibrant location, Austin’s business prospects are displayed in the numbers. The economy grew by 63% from 2010 to 2018, the 4th fastest of any large city in the country.

With a greater economy brings more job opportunities in the future. Austin is projected to have the fifth fastest job growth rate of any big U.S. city over the next ten years.

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

Following closely in second is North Carolina’s Raleigh, thanks to a solid all-round performance. The city scored especially well for filling their executive roles with women. 3.4% more roles are filled by women (27.5%), the 12th fastest growth rate throughout the U.S.

Raleigh’s economic growth (56% in the 2010s) has been noticed by the wider population. For women looking for an expanding city that’s broadening its customer base, Raleigh has seen a population growth of over 22% from 2010–2020 — the 8th fastest across the country.

3. Portland, Oregon

If you were to only judge these U.S. cities on measuring equality, Portland would surely position itself as number one. The City of Roses has done more to directly promote women in business than any other U.S. city over the last decade, and it shows in the numbers.

The percentage of women in executive positions grew by 5% to 34%. Only Louisville has more women in executive roles in any major U.S. city. Portland’s performance is just as impressive on the gender pay gap. Over the last decade, women’s pay as a percentage of men closed by 6.7%. At 86.3%, the gender pay gap could be obliterated in the city by 2030 if the current trend continues.

4. San Diego, California

San Diego is California’s only representative in the top 10 (Oakland is next in 12th). Much of that is down to a top place finish for female-owned businesses. Growing by 1.87% to 21.1% in the last decade may not seem significant, but no other major US city exceeds that level of growth.

San Diego also scored well for women in executive positions (6th in the U.S.) and closing of the gender pay gap (9th).

5. Seattle, Washington

Seattle offers probably the best business opportunity in the U.S., no matter your gender. The population there grew by 29% up to 2020, a reflection of its position as one of the country’s most on-trend cities. In response, the economy grew 63% over the same period, allowing for women in business to ride a wave of prosperity.

Away from the economy, Seattle also performed strongly on more equality-focused factors, most notably with the percentage of businesses owned by women. Up to 21.9%, Seattle’s growth was the 8th fastest across the country.

The best of the rest

Where else could the next generation on of female business leaders head? The study looked at the 50 biggest cities in the US; this is how the top 20 shapes up:


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