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The 13 best-value cities for hiring tech talent

Sarah K. White | Aug. 30, 2017
With low business costs and strong talent labor markets, these U.S. and Canadian cities offer the best bang for your hiring buck.

Indianapolis is not only affordable to operate in, with an estimated cost of $36 million per year for an office of 500 employees, but it’s labor market is growing with millennials. Since 2010, Indianapolis’ millennial population has grown by nearly 4 percent, which is almost 20 percent total growth in population. Degree completion in computer engineering, math and statistics and other tech engineering programs grew by 38 percent between 2011 and 2015, increasing the pool of qualified tech candidates in the Indianapolis metro area.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,407,000
  • Average tech talent wages: $77,672
  • Average support non-tech wage: $51,608
  • Average management wage: $114,800

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Total estimated costs to operate in Pittsburgh come in at around $37.5 million per year for an office of 500, making it a great value for businesses seeking top talent. Pittsburgh also rates second for the number of millennial workers in the city — over 25 percent of the population. Tech jobs are booming in Pittsburgh, with nearly 24 percent growth since 2011; meanwhile, non-tech jobs grew by less than three percent.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,634,250
  • Average tech talent wages: $20,107,965
  • Average support non-tech wage: $10,918,471
  • Average management wage: $4,857,730

Detroit, Mich.

Detroit is one of the more affordable places to find valuable, high-quality tech talent — the average cost to operate is just over $38 million per year. The cost of living for residents is 8 percent lower than the national average, while the cost to run a business is 6 percent lower. The city is experiencing a boom in tech employment, increasing more than 40 percent between 2011 and 2016, while tech jobs grew by more than 9 percent.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,380,000
  • Average tech talent wages: $83,482
  • Average support non-tech wage: $54,098
  • Average management wage: $135,517

Portland, Ore.

While the cost of living is 8 percent higher than the national average, the average business spends just over $40 million per year to operate — with business costs that are 4 percent less than the national average. Job growth in tech outpaced other industries, growing almost 13 percent since 2011, while non-tech occupations grew by a little over 6 percent.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $2,015,250
  • Average tech talent wages: $90,039
  • Average support non-tech wage: $51,674
  • Average management wage: $132,420

Atlanta, Ga.

The average total cost to operate in Atlanta comes in at just over $41 million per year, while housing and relative costs are 12 percent below the national average. Tech jobs have also seen massive growth, with a 47 percent uptick in tech employment and nearly 16 percent total growth in tech occupations since 2011. To compare, non-tech jobs only grew by 8 percent overall.

Cost breakdown:

  • Rent: $1,828,500
  • Average tech talent wages: $92,380
  • Average support non-tech wage: $52,995
  • Average management wage: $139,820

Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

On average, businesses spend a total of nearly $42 million per year to operate, while housing and relative costs for businesses in Raleigh-Durham are 11 percent below the national average. Tech occupations have grown over 15 percent since 2011, while the millennial population has grown by more than 11 percent since 2010.

 

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