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Policymakers Take Note: Silicon Valley is in Your Backyard

Policymakers Take Note: Silicon Valley is in Your Backyard

General News Article

The COVID-19 pandemic – and the innovations it necessitated – has changed how we look at what it means for a region to be a technology hub. Pandemic disruptions necessitated faster technological change in every industry, in areas including customer connectivity, automation, supply chain management, product delivery, and the use of artificial intelligence. As a result, companies large and small in myriad industries are aggressively hiring a tech workforce. Software developers, coders, web designers and other tech workers are now in demand in every sector, from financial institutions to retailers to universities to health care systems.

The pandemic also changed the physical location of where we work. Historically, “Big Tech” was concentrated geographically in regions such as Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC. With recent increased remote working trends, a tech job posted by a San Jose- or Seattle-based company can be filled by a tech worker living in Texas, Idaho, Florida, or Arkansas.

TECNA’s recent study, “Tech Workforce Trends: The Migration of Tech Jobs Since the Pandemic,” confirms that every community now has a tech workforce. This study - the first public analysis of post-pandemic tech job migration - demonstrates that hundreds of thousands of tech sector jobs are being created and supported in several unexpected places, where policy leaders may not even realize a tech job boom is occurring.

According to our study, remote postings for tech jobs skyrocketed by 421% in monthly posting volume, when measured against a pre-pandemic January 2020 baseline. These remote positions mean that tech opportunities need not be tethered to a company’s physical campus.

Remote work trends have made a material difference in regional tech growth. States such as Tennessee (7.6%), Idaho (7.5%), Utah (5.3%) and Mississippi (4.7%) experienced the largest post-pandemic increases in new tech jobs. Notably, this growth was not confined to large urban areas. Our study showed that smaller communities are emerging as booming tech regions, as cities such as Urbana, Illinois (14.8%), Gainesville, Florida (14.7%) and El Paso, Texas (12.9%) all experienced significant growth in tech jobs.

Our study demonstrates that tech jobs can move to areas where workers want to live and to places that have the right incentives in place to support the technology sector. This is great news for policymakers and community leaders interested in having a vibrant technology sector as part of their local, regional, or state economies. The demand for tech jobs is here to stay, but the real question is: where they will remain or move?

Regions experiencing growth in their tech workforces are diverse geographically, politically, and economically. Accordingly, policymakers should understand that policies directed at “Big Tech” don’t just affect companies and workers in historical tech hubs such as Silicon Valley – these policies may impact their constituents in Tennessee, Ohio or Wisconsin who work remotely, or their local bank, hospital, online retailer, or a new start-up in their districts, which are integrating technology in innovative ways.

The emerging tech sector opportunities in their regions demand informed policy decisions to help these emerging tech centers grow and thrive. We therefore encourage local, state, and federal leaders to examine the TECNA study and the data for their specific states and regions, as we believe many communities are quietly becoming booming technology job centers.

Jennifer Grundy Young, CEO of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA)

TECNA represents approximately 60 Technology trade organizations that, in turn, represent more than 22,000 technology-related companies in North America.  

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