In today’s remote world of work, do traditional tech hubs still exist? And if so, how will these tech hubs redefine themselves?
Truth be told, tech hubs are slowly losing their luster in the fast-evolving tech industry. As a result, the tech workforce is increasingly being lured away from the traditional tech hubs and onto newer innovation centers. In addition, the digital transformation of many industries and organizations has likewise signaled the workforce to be dispersed instead of converging in a select number of tech hotbeds.
Despite these market movements, can these so-called tech hubs stand still as the center of tech talent and innovation, or is it time to pass on the baton to emerging hubs?
Tech Hubs: Where Have All the Tech Workers Gone?
Is Silicon Valley still the best place to find all the action when looking for tech employment?
Many of the world’s biggest names in tech had to sacrifice their workforce during these challenging times. Big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft have announced high-profile layoffs. Given this, there are clearly other tech hubs that job seekers should explore other than Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the Bay Area, New York, San Jose, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Seatle, among others.
Aside from these traditional tech hubs, a handful of emerging tech centers also attract tech professionals these days. Areas in the US that are slowly gaining an image of being a tech city include Atlanta in Georgia, Austin and Dallas in Texas, Chicago, and the Midwest cities of Indianapolis, Denver, Columbus, and Kansas City. Emerging tech hubs may also be found in Salt Lake City in Utah, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina, and Phoenix, Arizona.1
These new tech cities feature companies that have also been heavily investing in technology innovation and tech startups that are now growing in numbers. These new tech hubs have been growing consistently and attracting more tech talent in recent years. As a result, these emerging tech hubs paint a more realistic picture of how the US tech industry is evolving and becoming more geographically diverse.
Indeed, tech workers must focus on more than just the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, or Washington DC in their search for tech jobs. The reality is that more and more tech hubs are rising in North America, where tech employment may be found.
Flexibility: The Secret Weapon to Find Top Tech Talent
If the pandemic brought anything positive and groundbreaking to the world of work, that is the possibility of flexible work arrangements. In fact, many say that 2022 is the year of remote work.
A recent survey published in CNBC reports that 72 percent of tech workers prefer a flexible work arrangement from their employers instead of returning to onsite work full-time.2
Flexible work arrangements emphasize a tech employee’s autonomy and allow managers to customize policies and initiatives to the needs of each employee. It also supports efforts to promote employee well-being and work-life balance – priorities that have shot up in the preferences of many tech workers.
A report from the ADP Research Institute revealed that 67 percent of employees would take advantage of flexible work arrangements if their tech company offered this. Moreover, the same report revealed that employees value flexibility in a tech job as much as they value a significant pay raise.3
This new normal of flexibility in the workplace also tends to boost morale and employee productivity. A similar study revealed that 90 percent of employees feel they are as productive working remotely as working onsite. Some even said they are more productive working from home than in the office. Similarly, 84 percent said they would be happier if their tech company decided to make flexibility a permanent fixture in the company policies.4
Tech Hub No More: Tapping on the Global Talent Pool
The saying “the world is your marketplace” could not be truer now than ever before.
The truth remains that finding top tech professionals in the US is a mammoth task rather than simply a walk in the park.
Because of this, many CEOs and hiring managers believe that if these vacancies cannot be filled by swaying tech professionals from the traditional tech hub, then the answer must be to look for them elsewhere in the globe. This is particularly true for 90 percent of tech startups in the United States.5
Technology companies in the United States have also hired their tech workforce from other tech hubs globally, such as Beijing, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, London, Shanghai, Singapore, and Vietnam.
On the home front, this is partnered with a heavy investment in tech talent by upskilling and reskilling current employees. This has been a developing trend in the tech sector for the industry to attract and retain its top talent.
Many tech companies have resorted to either nearshore or offshore outsourcing to hire tech talents. Nearshore outsourcing refers to outsourcing talent from a nearby country or territory with a similar time zone. On the other hand, offshore outsourcing refers to outsourcing talent from distant countries such as India, South Africa, or the Philippines. While the former may be easier to manage, the latter is usually more cost-effective.
The war on getting tech talent is still far from over. CEOs and hiring managers in the so-called “biggest tech hubs” must be more strategic in rethinking their hiring process to attract and retain top professionals. Similarly, job seekers should continue enriching their experience and skills to stay at the top of the game.
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1One America Works. “2022: As Big Tech Stumbles, 13 Cities in the Silicon Heartland Flourish.” One America Works, 29 Dec. 2022, https://oneamericaworks.org/news/2022-year-in-review-as-big-tech-stumbles-the-silicon-heartland-continues-to-rise/.
2Jackson, Ashton. “The Demand for Flexible Work ‘Will Only Accelerate’ in Coming Years as Workers Feel More Empowered.” CNBC, CNBC, 17 Mar. 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/17/the-demand-for-flexible-work-will-only-accelerate-in-coming-years.html.
3 “One Year into the Pandemic: ADP Research Institute® Uncovers How Working Conditions and Attitudes Have Changed in Global Study.” ADP Media Center, https://mediacenter.adp.com/2021-04-28-One-Year-into-the-Pandemic-ADP-Research-Institute-R-Uncovers-How-Working-Conditions-and-Attitudes-Have-Changed-in-Global-Study.
4 “State of Remote Work 2021: Owl Labs.” State of Remote Work 2021 | Owl Labs, https://owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2021/.
5 Roddy, Seamus. “Benefits of Outsourcing for Small Businesses.” Benefits of Outsourcing for Small Businesses | Clutch.co. https://clutch.co/bpo/resources/benefits-of-outsourcing.