Could new Texas anti-abortion law hamper high tech recruitment?

Meghan McCarty Carino Sep 22, 2021
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Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sep. 11, in Austin, Texas. Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

Could new Texas anti-abortion law hamper high tech recruitment?

Meghan McCarty Carino Sep 22, 2021
Heard on:
Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sep. 11, in Austin, Texas. Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images
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More than 50 companies, including Lyft, Yelp and Bumble have signed a letter opposing the strict new Texas anti-abortion law.

The law bans abortions as early as six weeks and allows citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who “aids and abets” a woman who gets the procedure. Companies argue the policy is bad for business and will hurt efforts to build diverse and inclusive workforces.

As the CEO of the Austin-based real estate startup OJO Labs, John Berkowitz said that, in the past, convincing tech workers to move from pricey coastal cities has been an easy sell with Austin’s music scene and food.

“Heat in August is the only objection that I’ve ever consistently gotten,” Berkowitz said. But recently he’s heard new concerns.

“Is this really a haven for innovation and living a better life and making the world a better place? Or am I going to like a restricted society?” he said.

Berkowitz signed the letter, one of many tech leaders who say they’re concerned about the new law.

Texas is transitioning from an oil economy to a high tech economy, said Richard Alm at Southern Methodist University.

“This is social policy but it also has a labor market component,” Alm said.

Big tech companies like Apple and Google have moved in. “You need enough labor and the right kind of labor,” he said.

So, if highly skilled workers don’t see Texas as a cultural fit, Alm said it could hamper that growth.

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