Tech workers are increasingly looking to leave Silicon Valley

On the move.
On the move.
Image: AP Photo/Scott Anger
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A growing number of engineers and tech workers from the San Francisco Bay Area are looking to leave Silicon Valley for burgeoning tech hubs such as Austin, Texas, and Seattle, Washington, according to a job-search site’s data.

Indeed.com found that the share of searches from within the Bay Area for tech jobs outside of it is on the rise. As of Feb. 1, 35% of tech job searches on Indeed.com from the region were for jobs elsewhere, data from the company shows. That share, which is based on 30-day averages and adjusted for seasonal factors, was up about 30% year-over-year.

The portion of searches for work outside of the Bay Area—which has the most expensive rents in the US—was also highest among people ages 31 to 40, suggesting that people are leaving to find better opportunities elsewhere or to settle down in more affordable areas where they can improve their quality of life.

“In the Bay Area, there’s been such enormous growth and opportunity that it’s created some challenges for happiness,” Paul D’Arcy, senior vice president at Indeed.com, told Quartz. “Job searchers are always balancing opportunity and happiness. As people think about what the right fit for them is, housing, traffic, and quality of life are really important factors.”

This trend doesn’t diminish Silicon Valley as a tech hub, D’Arcy said—66% of tech job searches were still for work within the Bay Area, and people from other parts of the country are migrating to the region every day. Rather, it speaks to the growth of technology opportunities around the US.

The most-searched places outside of California were major cities—New York, for example—and more affordable places with growing tech communities, including Austin and Seattle.

Most-searched cities for tech jobs from people in the San Francisco Bay Area

“It’s amazing to see other places that are small up very high,” D’Arcy said. “That reflects other strong tech centers that are perceived as having a higher quality of life.”

D’Arcy said this type of migration—from big to smaller cities—is common around the world. The same patterns can be found in the UK and Germany, for example, with people moving from London to Cambridge and Berlin to Munich.

And where the talent goes, companies follow. We’re seeing this already with tech giants like Facebook opening offices in Austin and Seattle, and Google leasing space in downtown Portland.