Tech workers favor Seattle, Austin for relocation

The Seattle skyline

Many cities in America’s heartland hope that their lower cost of living is enough of a siren call to lure tech workers out of the Bay Area. But a new survey from job seeking platform Hired shows that tech workers aren’t willing to take a chance on just any city with a low cost of living.

Today, Hired published its annual “state of salaries” report, which delves into where tech workers get paid the most in 13 cities in 2017. The report found that unsurprisingly, tech workers in San Francisco are paid the most, followed by other large “knowledge hubs” like Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. Hired also surveyed tech workers on what city tops the list of places they wish to relocate to. The top 5, in order, are: Seattle, Austin, Denver, Chicago, and Atlanta.


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It may come as a surprise to some that San Francisco isn’t on that list, given that it is the city where tech workers are typically paid the most. But it’s highly likely that many of the survey respondents already work in San Francisco, given that it’s one of the cities in the U.S. with the highest concentration of tech workers.

The report states that Hired “collected survey responses from more than 700 tech workers on the Hired platform,” though it doesn’t state which cities survey respondents currently live and work in. Hired also collected salary data from more than 420,000 interview requests and job offers that were submitted on the Hired platform.

Given the limited sample size, the survey doesn’t paint a complete picture of what cities are top of mind for tech workers. But it does reinforce the idea that while many tech workers likely do want to live in a place with a lower cost of living than San Francisco, they aren’t necessarily going to relocate to any city with a lower cost of living. They’re most likely going to first look to cities that have a similarly high concentration of tech workers as San Francisco.

Another sign that cost of living doesn’t play as big of a factor in relocation decisions as companies might think — Seattle, the place that most of the tech workers surveyed want to relocate to, isn’t exactly a cheaper place to live anymore. According to Trulia, the median rent in Seattle has increased by 39.8 percent from 2012 to 2017 — an even greater rent increase than the one seen by San Francisco in the same time period. But the median rent in Seattle is still $2,300 compared to a whopping $4,000 in San Francisco.

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