Is Seattle the New Silicon Valley?

Is the tech boom heading north? The data says yes. Tech workers and businesses seem to be heading for grayer pastures, leaving Silicon Valley for rain-soaked Seattle. So what’s driving the migration? And what does it mean for tech companies in the city? Will Seattle become the new Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley Moving to Seattle?

According to Seattle-based online real estate brokerage Redfin, 25 percent of Silicon Valley residents are looking to relocate to a new city. The number of those residents looking for a home in Seattle today is nearly four times what it was in 2013. Many tech employees can no longer afford to live in Silicon Valley, and thus, they’re making the move.

Tech Companies Moving to Seattle

Tech companies are also making a move. Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon have called the Emerald City home for a long time, but others are starting to see the light. Amazon is a big part of that. The company recently opened the first tower on its new campus, which stretches along three blocks of downtown and will include a set of biodomes. This is all in addition to the company’s complex of buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Many smaller companies are jockeying for space near the e-commerce giant, and Facebook, Zillow, Oracle, Alibaba, Apple, Dropbox, Sears, and HP have all also announced that they would either be opening offices or expanding their locations in Seattle. The tech boom in this new Silicon Valley is clearly already a reality.

What This Means for Companies

The talent is making its way to Seattle and so are tech companies. According to Indeed’s Chief Economist Tara Sinclair, that means the demand for tech workers hasn’t really shifted all that much. While the talent pool is increasing, so are the number of jobs. There are still plenty of tech jobs that need to be filled — second only to nursing jobs, according to Indeed — but Sinclair says the data shows that these positions are being filled faster and more easily than ever before.

While an influx of top talent is good news for employers, it also might mean that they need to be a bit more proactive about attracting the best people for their company. Some employers are going straight to the source, recruiting talent directly from Silicon Valley. If the drive to move is there, it could simply take a phone call to attract that perfect new employee.

What Does the Future Look Like?

Real estate and cost of living are driving the influx of workers and businesses to Seattle, but this may not last for very long. On Redfin, housing in the city has gone up in the past five years, and every year, there are fewer houses available for purchase.

Amazon’s choice to stay in the city rather than expand in a suburban area like Microsoft has had an effect on the population of the city, too. Traffic is getting worse every day, and there is no end in sight: the company is planning on opening another tower on its new campus this summer.

It remains to be seen whether Seattle can sustain itself as the next Silicon Valley. If it does, there will definitely be growing pains. Still, Seattle is experiencing a tech boom at the moment, and employers can take advantage of the top talent moving to their neighborhood now, whether the migration continues or not.

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