Tech Hubs’ High Cost of Living

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If you’re a recruiter or employer in a major tech hub such as San Francisco, you know that the cost of living is high. No matter what you pay in salary and perks, tech pros in those cities will judge your offer against their astronomical rent or mortgage.

How much are tech pros actually paying to live in some of the country’s largest cities? The answer obviously varies, depending on the data-set you crunch and the survey questions you ask.

Earlier this summer, real-estate Website Radpad released a short report in which it compared the salaries at some of San Francisco’s most prominent tech companies with rents in that city. Although a software engineer at, say, Google or Salesforce can pull down anywhere from $150,000 to $170,000 per year on average, a monthly rent of $3,500 for a one-bedroom (by no means unheard-of for San Francisco) can consume nearly half of that annual take-home pay.

And how do the nation’s other tech hubs measure up on the salary-versus-rent front? The following chart draws salary data from the annual Dice Salary Survey; the average monthly rents for a one-bedroom come from Zumper’s National Rent Report for 2015:

San Francisco (Silicon Valley)

Average annual tech salary: $118,243
One-bedroom monthly rent: $3,400

New York, NY

Average annual tech salary: $106,263
One-bedroom monthly rent: $3,000

Los Angeles

Average annual tech salary: $105,091
One-bedroom monthly rent: $1,730

Boston, MA

Average annual tech salary: $103,675
One-bedroom monthly rent: $2,280

Seattle, WA

Average annual tech salary: $103,309
One-bedroom monthly rent: $1,600

Washington, DC

Average annual tech salary: $102,873
One-bedroom monthly rent: $2,000

Portland, OR

Average annual tech salary: $100,309
One-bedroom monthly rent: $1,300

San Diego, CA

Average annual tech salary: $98,934
One-bedroom monthly rent: $1,480

Austin, TX

Average annual tech salary: $98,672
One-bedroom monthly rent: $1,030

In many of these cities, the rent will continue to rise; for tech pros who live there, salaries will have to keep pace. No wonder some techies are fleeing the big cities for environs with a better cost of living. Employers should keep that in mind when determining the salaries related to various positions (and negotiating with the tech pros who will fill those positions).

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