While Silicon Valley has traditionally created the greatest demand for tech talent, a number of metro areas around the United States are blooming as serious tech centers, creating strong markets of their own. One such metro to watch: Salt Lake City. Top Silicon Valley companies such as Adobe, Electronic Arts and Twitter have flocked to Utah for its lower taxes, more flexible regulatory environment, a well-educated (and multilingual) workforce, and unparalleled natural amenities.
As part of our local market report on Salt Lake City, we crunched some numbers. STEM employment is up 17.5 percent over the past 10 years and 4.5 percent over the past two. Driving this growth is a thriving technology hub in the roughly 80-mile area from Provo to Ogden, with Salt Lake City in-between. The region has given rise to at least five companies valued at more than $1 billion; venture capitalists have also taken notice of this new technology hotbed, collectively offering hundreds of millions in seed money to Utah-based startups.
Local recruiters like to emphasize Salt Lake City’s focus on work-life balance. The area has long been recognized as a picturesque gateway to skiing, hiking and mountain climbing. There’s also the chance for tech pros to work on interesting projects: beneath the city’s serene surface, the technology industry is disrupting the traditionally stable labor market and creating tech jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago.
Low corporate taxes, reasonably priced real estate, and big investments in higher education have made Utah an attractive place for innovative tech companies. No wonder that, in 2015, Entrepreneur ranked Salt Lake City as the top startup destination outside of San Francisco or New York City. This creates a lot of opportunity for recruiters, as well as a rising challenge to lock down the best talent.
Today, more than 646 startups have settled into the “Silicon Slopes.” They join tech giants that have already opened up large offices in the city. “There wasn’t a whole lot of competition for technical talent in the past, so employers were able to hold salaries down,” explained Sharon Marston, a mining engineer and owner of Salt Lake Recruiters. “Now there are ample opportunities for mid-career professionals to boost their salaries and move beyond production-coding roles.”
For an even deeper dive, check out Dice’s local market report on Salt Lake City.