The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that tech unemployment is hanging steady at just 2.0% across the nation. This inevitably leads to a smaller available talent pool, which presents a challenge to employers who are looking to quickly fill open IT positions; in fact, industry experts report that the average number of days to fill an IT position is at a massive 26.7 days – a full week longer than just a decade ago.
It’s no wonder, then, that competition for top tech talent is tight, with companies striving to provide increasingly more attractive job offers. It’s this trend that has in part resulted in a 7.7% year-over-year jump in IT salaries, the largest increase ever recorded.
However, salary alone cannot be the sole deciding factor in accepting a job offer. Besides the fact that no one wants to be stuck in a terrible job that happens to come with a handsome paycheck, there’s also the consideration of cost of living, city culture and population, industry growth outlook, and personal preferences.
Atlanta is the 3rd most concentrated area for Fortune 500 companies, and it has an economy that has recovered with significant strength after the national economic downturn. In particular, the region has become a mobile technology hub, with a number of task forces, initiatives, and tech investments focused on mobility and wireless technology, making it a global leader in mobile tech.
Its tech sector is thriving, too, with an unemployment rate of just 3.4% and an average tech wage of $90,175 in the state of Georgia, according to the CompTIA. In fact, Dice salary information reports that Atlanta itself has an average IT salary of $97,238. But no matter which numbers you follow, the fact that the average cost of living is well below the national level is very attractive. In comparison to Los Angeles or New York, an Atlanta family’s annual cost of living is massively lower by $12,000 and $26,000, respectively. For more salary insight for the city of Atlanta, download our free Atlanta IT Salary Guide.
Austin, Texas was ranked the number one city for tech job growth in 2015 by Forbes Magazine, with a 73% increase since 2010. As such, it has become a tech hub both for cutting edge start-ups and established tech organizations.
Texas in general has an impressive average IT salary, at $99,667, by BLS data, with Dice chiming in with $98,672 for Austin. For even more data on average salaries for specific tech roles, download our Austin IT Salary Guide. What’s more, cost of living is extremely attainable, at just $29,904 for single people and $57,475 for families. Add in the steady 2.3% tech unemployment rate, and we can infer that this outlook will remain strong for years to come.
A CBRE Research report has named Charlotte, North Carolina, a “momentum market,” – or in other words, an “up-and-coming city with surging growth rates among tech talent.” It’s a status to be proud of, with a strong foundation of excellent educational institutions, tech start-ups, and powerhouse companies to back it up.
Salaries and cost of living in Charlotte, NC, provide further proof of the metro’s strength on the tech scene. With the state average tech salary at $91,363, individuals and families alike are well positioned to take advantage of low cost of living, with at least $13,000 to spare over their New York counterparts, according to data from the EPI. For the average salaries of specific IT roles in Charlotte, download our Charlotte IT Salary Guide.
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth combine to create one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the United States, so it’s little wonder why their tech scene also ranks highly across the nation. It’s home to around 3,000 tech companies, spanning the industry from software and wireless communications to semiconductors and emerging technologies.
Thanks to the high tech growth in the area, IT salaries have been on the rise in order to keep pace with the competitive candidate market. As mentioned previously, Texas as a whole has an average IT salary of $99,667, and these cities aren’t far behind at $96,206 (our Dallas and Fort Worth IT Salary Guides provide even more detailed insight). Even more impressively, these cities have some of the lowest costs of living; in fact, Dallas families are looking at costs of $30,000 less than families in Washington, D.C.
When talking about leading cities for tech employment, Greenville, South Carolina, definitely isn’t a typical choice. And yet, home to companies like Lockheed, GE and 3M as well as a diverse range of tech start-ups and entrepreneurs, Greenville has held steady throughout the recent recession and continues to hold its ground as other metros do their best to win top talent.
While the South Carolina average tech salary is a little lower at $81,071, the regional cost of living is equally lower, giving IT professionals a similar net worth to the higher salaried tech professionals of LA, Seattle and New York. All in all, it’s definitely a city to consider if you’re thinking about making a move. In fact, check out our Greenville IT Salary Guide for more info.
Outside of San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the best cities for IT jobs, according to Forbes Magazine. With 39.9% workforce growth since 2010 and 78% IT employment growth since 2000, the city’s tech scene is certainly a driving factor in its economy.
With many tech companies expanding business into the area, IT wages have seen equal growth, with a state average of $95,617, and even more attractive salaries for individual IT roles – check out our Phoenix IT Salary Guide here. Like many of the above great cities for tech employment, Phoenix enjoys a considerably low cost of living for both individuals and families; a balance that makes the area incredibly attractive for IT jobseekers.
Learn More About these Leading Cities for Tech Employment
At MDI, our team has a depth of local market expertise and backs it up with one-on-one conversations everyday with IT pros and companies in these cities. If you’re looking for deeper salary research into individual tech positions or are ready to start your career search in one of these great cities, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Check out our 2016 IT Salary Guides or search our IT opportunities to find your fit today.
Richey Brownfield is the Chief Executive Officer of MDI Group. If you are interested in learning more about how to justify hiring the best IT talent, contact Richey directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us 888-416-7949. MDI Group has offices and specializes in recruiting IT talent in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greenville and Phoenix.