Top employers, diverse career path, low cost of living, and an exciting, innovative music and arts culture are a few of the reasons grads choose chicago.

Make Your Mark

10 Reasons Recent Grads Choose to Start a Career Chicago

Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chicago
Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chicago
Perhaps the biggest decision facing college graduates is where to start a career, and for many reasons, Chicago is often their choice. In three surveys, Chicago was rated a top location for recent graduates:

  • Chicago is the #1 City for Recent Grads, according to

  • More than 60,000 undergraduate students from 400 universities nationwide chose Chicago as one of the top cities in which to work after graduation according to Universum, a Philadelphia-based company that researches career preferences

  • Of 600 undergraduates at local colleges and universities, 66% preferred to start their careers in Chicago (less than 10 percent chose New York City) according to Universum

Why are so many recent graduates attracted to Chicago to start a career? Read on for 10 of the top reasons:

#1    Access top employers

#2    Pursue any career

#3    Build your resume

#4    Establish networks

#5    Feed your intellect

#6    Earn more

#7    Spend less

#8    Explore innovative culture

#9    Find your place

#10  Make your mark

Local Advantage, Worldwide Appeal

As the U.S. continues evolving into a knowledge-based economy, regions with the greatest number of college graduates will have the advantage. Chicago – through a virtuous circle of talented local graduates, who draw businesses to the city, which in turn attract more students – is positioning itself well for tomorrow’s economy. With a combination of relatively high salaries and low cost of living, Chicago offers opportunities and amenities that rival other major U.S. cities, but with greater potential for financial mobility than comparatively high-priced cities on the coasts.

Recent studies sponsored by CEOs for Cities and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning suggest educational attainment is strongly correlated to regional economic growth (CEOs for Cities calculated that a one percentage point increase in the attainment of 4-year college degrees, for example, is associated with an $856 increase in annual per capita income). World Business Chicago continues to develop strategies to attract, retain, and engage an energetic, educated, and highly mobile workforce.

Through partnerships with local institutions – including DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago – WBC hopes to support the motivations of recent college graduates who are choosing to live and work in Chicago.

Cooler By The Lake

Give this video a look to see some of what the city has to offer:


The photo at the top of this page is CC, David Paul Ohmer, from Flickr. Make Your Mark was compiled from the following sources: ACCRA, BusinessWeek, CEOs for Cities, Chicago Loop Alliance, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Universum, Management Association of Illinois, National Association of Colleges and Employers,, U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois De- partment of Employment Security, U.S. News and World Report. Student survey data provided by: DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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