Move Up by Moving Away from Overpriced Overcrowded Tech Meccas
Those major tech hubs are taking you for a ride. And it’s a long ride at that because the commutes in those places tend to be hell on wheels. Maybe it’s time to get unstuck and move on to greener pastures?
The latest Paysa data finds that there are happening metro centers in other parts of the U.S. to consider. Places where you still can work for a great company, make bank, but spend a lot less on rent and spend less time stuck in commute traffic. That translates into more money for you to play with and more time to enjoy it.
Today more than ever, thanks to big data and cloud storage, it is easier for tech firms to decentralize and locate where land is cheaper. For start-ups, it may be especially appealing to cast a wider net and set up shop in places where costs won’t eat up their seed capital as quickly.
“In its quest for lower costs, modern facilities, and access to talent, the booming tech sector is finding it can strike gold outside California,” states commercial real estate publication areadevelopment.com.
In fact, the tech industry is resetting the office-leasing map across the United States, according to property management firm JLL’s 2016 United States Technology Office Outlook.
Last year, 34 tech companies expanded into more than 2.1 million square feet of new office space, across 19 markets outside traditional tech centers. Key factors included average rents for work space, and real estate costs for employees.
Another factor contributing to the nationwide tech diaspora is the growing importance of technology to nearly every industry. Tech companies are not the only ones that need tech talent, as many services and companies now are increasingly tech-driven. Consider the race for tech talent in the automotive industry as traditional car companies try to get up to speed on self-driving car technology, as recently reported by Paysa.
Tech workers are now needed in healthcare, marketing, scientific research, financial services, law, e-commerce, and other sectors. Thus, the demand for technology talent is creating new energy in secondary cities that serve industries that may not have needed tech in the past but need it now.
Lower Cost Cities
Traditional tech hubs like San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston may continue to be the default option for tech job seekers with innovation that continues to explode with the presence of so many iconic companies like Facebook, Google and Airbnb. But new Paysa data also points to other appealing options.
A lot of tech companies are even moving their headquarters out of the Bay Area to counteract the fierce competition for talent and high attrition rates that are too often the side effects of such competition.
As reported by San Francisco Chronicle in early 2016, along with household names like Google, Apple, Dropbox and Oracle — which all recently built or expanded major campuses in Austin — nearly two dozen Bay Area tech companies also reportedly relocated to Texas or opened outposts there since 2014. Thousands of residents made a similar trek throughout the 2000s, taking roughly $1 billion in taxable income out of California and into the Lone Star State, according to a Chronicle analysis of Internal Revenue Service data.
Tech and engineering pros that move to Austin for a new job or relocate there for a current employer will enjoy 29 percent more purchasing power and consumer prices (including rent) that are 42 percent lower than San Francisco, according to numbeo.
Or, you could go to work for a company that would support you in your quest to find a better overall lifestyle and cost of living no matter where the company is located. For example, according to a recent article in the Guardian, “Zapier, where all employees work remotely, recently announced that if current Bay Area residents were interested in improving their ‘family’s standard of living’ by relocating, the firm would provide $10,000 in moving reimbursements.” The article went on to say that since CEO Wade Foster posted about the package, the company has seen a dramatic uptick in the number of applicants.
The Guardian mentioned that Zapier’s Foster “said he has long embraced remote working and that more startups should consider the model given how many talented workers want to move away from the epicenter of the industry.”
Heading farther East from San Francisco will open you up to a lot of opportunities.
In Charlotte, NC, you could work for Microsoft, Time Warner Cable, Wells Fargo or Bank of America.
In Atlanta, GA, you could work for AT&T, McKesson, IBM or Cisco. Check out Pittsburgh, PA and work for Google, IBM, Microsoft or Hewlett-Packard.
Phoenix, AZ offers are a more California-like climate and the potential for jobs at IBM, Wells Fargo, Go Daddy, American Express and Cognizant Technology Solutions without the California housing costs.
Where the Pay Goes Further and the Drive Is Short
San Francisco is still is still high up there in the number of tech jobs with currently 43,000 positions open. But it also has the highest total annual living expenses for renters at $77,000 for a couple with no kids. If you can afford to live in San Francisco, you can avoid long commute times. But if you can’t and have to commute in, you will likely see a lot of your time spent on the road – up to 1 hour each way.
That might also be the case if you work in Seattle and you have to face traffic.
As a 2016 article in GeekWire reports, TomTom’s Traffic Index 2016 revealed that Seattle again tied for fourth-worst among U.S. cities for overall congestion levels, behind Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
Still in Seattle, the average tech pay is higher at $133,000, there is no state tax and the annual renter expense totals $51,000 for a couple with no kids. You get to keep a lot more of your annual pay. There are currently more than 43,000 open tech positions in Seattle.
Contrast that to Atlanta. With 20,000 open tech positions, it offers an average pay of $99,000. Living in Atlanta will mean an annual renter’s expense and cost of living that averages $42,000 for a couple with no children. Add two kids and you’re at $62,000 for your living expenses – which means you can get by, but not as well if you have a growing family.
If you moved to, Austin, which currently can claim 8,400 available tech jobs and landed an average salary of $100,700, you might be a lot better off than you are right now. With no state tax and an average annual outgo in rent of $44,000 for a single person, you would have a lot more money to save for a rainy day and spend to enjoy the music scene there — if you are into that sort of thing.
Paysa took at look at different markets around the U.S. where tech talent is in high demand relative to the cost of living and commute times. Here are the top 50 cities where you can pull in a great salary, actually be able to follow your parents’ advice to not spend more than you make and be able to get home in enough time to take an evening run before dinner. If you live in any of these cities, you can expect to make a great salary relative to the cost of living and an easy, 15 minute commute into the office:
|Market||City||Avg Salary||Available Jobs|
|Los Angeles||Long Beach||98,222||1812|
|Los Angeles||Los Angeles||100,109||18743|
|Los Angeles||Hermosa Beach||100,278||6385|
|Los Angeles||Sierra Madre||101,513||2967|
|Los Angeles||San Marino||102,325||3175|
|Los Angeles||El Segundo||102,538||4257|
|Los Angeles||Manhattan Beach||102,607||4265|
|Los Angeles||Beverly Hills||108,032||1977|
|Los Angeles||Culver City||108,884||1722|
|Los Angeles||Santa Monica||110,569||2750|
|San Francisco||San Bruno||123,475||3872|
|San Francisco||San Jose||123,716||20785|
|San Francisco||Santa Clara||126,229||11664|
|San Francisco||Los Gatos||153,494||1863|
Escaping from the Bay Area for Roomier Homes at a Lower Cost
Eyebrows were raised in the tech community by a recent article Scraping by on six figures? Tech workers feel poor in Silicon Valley’s wealth bubble published in the U.S. edition of the Guardian, a UK news outlet.
The article said that tech workers are a victim of their industry’s success which has caused rents to soar over the last five years. San Francisco’s rents are now the highest in the world, according to the article.
“The prohibitive costs have displaced teachers, city workers, firefighters and other members of the middle class, not to mention low-income residents. Now techies, many of whom are among the highest 1% of earners, are complaining that they, too, are being priced out.”
Consider Paysa’s new data on options like Seattle, Austin, Atlanta and other cities with a thriving tech industry and lower housing costs. You might find a move will enrich you not only with more disposable income but a better overall quality of life.