Jul 6, 2017, 7:12 PM
Major tech players continue to join local, up-and-coming startups
When someone asks you what brings people to Arizona, you’re probably thinking the obvious: “nice weather and easy access to California.” But nearly 300 days of sunshine and geographic proximity only tell part of the story of tech’s rise in the Southwest.
Originally sought solely for its proximity to other West Coast hubs, Phoenix is now drawing talent from as far as the Northeast. Companies like Groupon relocated their Boston offices to the desert. Indeed and Yodle moved operations from New York City to Phoenix. And dozens of homegrown tech companies like LifeLock and GoDaddy started locally and haven’t left.
In short, what drew them all to the same spot? In the war for talent, tech firms want (and demand) the full package when considering where to drop anchor. That means easy access to labor, a lower cost of living for employees and amenities that keep the best talent flowing in.
Phoenix checks all those boxes. (And at a fraction of the cost found in other top markets.)
Recruitment/labor pool - Arizona State University
When it comes to new, highly educated tech talent, one of the largest schools in the country—Arizona State University— keeps churning it out—and at a lower annual cost per employee.
From supply chain to computer information solutions, huge tech companies like PayPal have long coaxed Sun Devil alums to come join them in Silicon Valley and beyond. In 2016 alone, ASU ranked 10th in hiring volume for the top 25 companies in Silicon Valley.
But recruitment’s gotten even closer in recent years. State Farm’s new 1.9 million square foot facility just feet off campus provides new alums with a variety of IT, call center and other tech-related support job opportunities right at home.
Plenty of locales claim a true live-work-play lifestyle, but few can compare to the scene in the greater Phoenix area.
Like the outdoors? Go hiking on Camelback Mountain. Golfer? Tee it up at TPC Scottsdale like a PGA Tour pro. Pro sports fan? You’ve got basketball, hockey, baseball and football to choose from. And that doesn’t even include plenty of high level college sports at both Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University.
Food and drink
Food lovers also have plenty of options given the area’s growing foodie culture. Phoenix is lined with microbreweries, popular fast casual spots and enough wine and trendy cocktail bars to please even the pickiest of drinkers. Travel and Leisure magazine even called Phoenix “the best pizza city in America.” (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.)
Just 25 minutes away from Metro Phoenix, Scottsdale features more than 600 restaurants and was dubbed by Livability.com as the second-best ‘foodie’ city in the country.
Outside of a really hot summer, the Phoenix area features a very favorable climate. Residents see nearly 300 days of sunshine and experience a dry heat that’s a lot more comfortable than the traditional humid heat seen in many places across the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.
Being able to afford where you live—not just survive paycheck-to-paycheck—can make a huge difference to employees comparing their actual quality of life across potential workplace cities.
In Phoenix, buying a home costs you less than half that of Boston or New York—or around $250,900. Rents meanwhile average out around $886 per month. That’s nearly 60% lower than both Boston and New York.
Given the median tech wage in Phoenix is around $98,000, your employees dollar will go further than the essentials, making the live-work-play environment that much more appealing.
Unlike many major cities, Phoenix is still being molded in many ways.
Whether through the city’s evolving culture or the diverse office space, there’s something for everyone in Phoenix.
And as more and more companies migrate, Phoenix will continue to transform through public transportation expansion, higher wages and major population gains.
But, right now, when it comes to costs, livability and availability, the Phoenix area has it—and tech is noticing.
Research: Kiana Cox, Keeley Byer | Editor: Michael Cronin