When we think of tech, we think Silicon Valley. But that could change. Places like Omaha, Nebraska and Philadelphia are becoming promising areas for startups to develop and grow. In this series, we’re looking for cities that might become home to the next big thing.
We’re always hearing rumors about cities poised to become the next Silicon Valley. But how legitimate are these tech hubs? The job search site Indeed gathered data from postings in the tech industry on its site from the past six months to see where job growth is happening. And while it’s certainly spreading to smaller and mid-sized cities, Indeed chief economist Jed Kolko says the eight major tech hubs still have a money monopoly on the market: San Jose, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Seattle, Raleigh, N.C.; San Francisco, Boston and Austin, Texas. Below is an edited excerpt of the conversation between Marketplace Tech’s Ben Johnson and Indeed’s Kolko.
Jed Kolko: So we focused on these eight tech hubs. These are all places where tech accounts for a larger than usual share of jobs in the local market. But it turns out that some places outside these hubs also have a lot of high paying and fast growing jobs in tech, which help make them look, in some ways, like a smaller version of Silicon Valley.
Ben Johnson: Well lay it on me. Where are they?
Kolko: Some of the places that are not well-known tech hubs are places like Boulder, Colorado, and Provo, Utah, where we see more of the higher salary jobs and jobs in emerging tech operations.
Johnson: Are any East Coast tech hubs coming into their own?
Kolko: Well in fact the two big tech hubs on the East Coast, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, do have tech jobs. But they don’t tend to be in the higher-salary, cutting-edge occupations that we tend to see out West.
Johnson: Were there any surprises for you in the data that you looked at?
Kolko: It is surprising that we’re not seeing tech jobs dispersed more across the country. Some of the places that are the traditional tech hubs are very expensive. The Bay Area has among the highest housing costs in the country as do many of these other top tech hubs. Despite that we’re seeing the higher paying and cutting edge tech jobs are increasingly concentrated in those places.
Johnson: So the other economic factors contributing to pushing people who might be interested in doing that work outside of these places doesn’t seem to be doing it.
Kolko: That’s right. The value of having these concentrated labor markets of people with very specialized cutting-edge skills outweighs the high cost of living in many of these top tech hubs. It’s also striking that there are smaller, more affordable places where the mix of tech jobs does look like Silicon Valley and also places that are gaining a share of America’s tech opportunities.
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