Could Texas Replace Silicon Valley as the Major Tech Hub?

Last week, Oracle announced that it would move its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, in addition to putting a “more flexible employee work location policy” into place (according to a comment provided to CNBC). In doing so, Oracle is the latest tech firm to migrate either its headquarters or a major facility to Texas, following Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Tesla.

With this relocation, is Texas poised to replace Silicon Valley as a major tech hub? And what does this trickle of departing companies mean for the Bay Area’s tech industry?

Texas is already home to a number of prominent tech companies. For example, Dell’s headquarters is located in Round Rock. Some 39 tech companies or venture-capital firms have established a presence around Austin this year alone, including Tesla’s planned “Giga Texas” factory facility (Tesla CEO Elon Musk also recently announced that he would relocate from California to Texas, although Tesla will continue to have a major manufacturing presence in the former state).

Texas is also competing against other states for firms seeking to uproot from Silicon Valley. Data-analytics firm Palantir recently said it would move its headquarters to Denver (some prominent Silicon Valley companies, including Google and Facebook, already have outposts in the city). For many technologists, these metro areas all offer some potential advantages over Silicon Valley, including a lower cost of living and easier commutes. 

However, Texas seems to have something of a leg up on some other locations, at least based on a recent study by Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists. In that study, some 29 percent of technology professionals said that Texas was “the next Silicon Valley” and that they planned to move, versus the 36 percent who said that “Silicon Valley will always be the tech hub” (and that they’re staying). (The survey had 5,641 responses overall.)

Is that impulse to move to Texas translating into recent job growth within the state? For an answer, let’s turn to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. We can see how many information-technology jobs were posted in Texas between June and November 2019:

Now let’s compare that to the jobs posted during the same period this year:

Overall, it seems that information-technology jobs actually decreased in Texas year-over-year. We can potentially attribute a large share of that to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made many firms hold off their hiring for much of 2020. That being said, it’s clear that Texas has serious tech momentum, and a storied Silicon Valley firm like Oracle deciding to move its headquarters there is a very big deal. Can Texas really become the next Silicon Valley, though? That’s a huge question, and it may take a few more massive tech companies moving into the state to make it happen.