Smaller Towns are Tech’s ‘Momentum Cities’

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Many people assume the words “tech hub” are synonymous with big cities such as San Francisco and Seattle. Over the past few years, however, smaller towns such as Austin, Baltimore, and Raleigh have made concerted efforts to attract tech firms.

The lower cost of living in those small- and medium-sized towns has managed to pull in a growing number of tech pros, suggests researchers at CBRE Group, a commercial real-estate firm. The organization recently crunched the numbers on some of the nation’s top tech hubs and discovered that a number of smaller cities are officially “momentum markets,” with a high tech-talent growth rate between 2010 and 2015.

Those “momentum markets” include:

  • Charlotte, NC (74.7 percent)
  • Nashville, TN (67.9 percent)
  • Bay Area, CA (61.5 percent)
  • Baltimore, MD (61.4 percent)
  • Oklahoma City, OK (59 percent)
  • Phoenix, AZ (58.1 percent)
  • Austin, TX (51.8 percent)
  • Tampa, FL (50.9 percent)
  • Seattle, WA (50.2 percent)
  • Vancouver, BC (50.1 percent)

Despite the attractive factor of smaller cities, however, the largest tech hubs continue to offer the highest salaries. Earlier this year, Dice’s annual Salary Survey pegged the average salary in Silicon Valley at $118,243 per year, while New York City came in at $106,263. Los Angeles, Boston, and Seattle rounded out that top five.

While firms in smaller towns might not be able to compete with the tech giants in the nation’s megalopolises on the basis of salary, they can certainly offer a mix of perks such as better work-life balance, cheaper real estate, and an easier commute. And given how money isn’t the only thing that draws tech pros to a particular position, they have a good shot at landing the tech talent they need.

If you’re interested in seeing which states pay their tech pros the most, the Salary Survey has that information, as well. California and New York aren’t the only states where average salaries are high; in the current market, employers across the country should prepare to pay significantly for the skills they need.

Image Credit: Dmitry Kaminsky/Shutterstock.com

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