Technology Cities to Watch

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There is little doubt that technology is a major driver in today’s economy. Some cities are performing very well. In a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield, five key metrics are identified and evaluated to measure what distinguishes a leading technology city.

  • Institutions of Higher Learning – Universities that have strong relationships with the business community can provide internship and work experiences for their students.  Additionally, those with research facilities can attract top talent interested in turning ideas into products or services.
  • Venture Capital – Available money for investment is critical to grow ideas and subsequently companies.    
  • Tech Workers – Having an abundant supply of tech workers is critical to a growing tech city.
  • Knowledge Workers - Available knowledge workers, such as lawyers and accountants, to support the technology industry is a crucial element, as well. 
  • Educated Workers – An overall highly educated workforce, those with a bachelor’s degree of higher, is a supporting player in the growth of a technology city.  31% of the current workforce in the United States has a bachelors or higher.  72.7% of jobs created from 2010-2016 went to bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Growth Entrepreneurship – The Kauffman Foundation has developed the Growth Entrepreneurship Index to measure this factor. 
    • Rate of Startup Growth measures how many jobs are created by startup companies over the five-year time period.
    • Share of Scale-ups is the number of companies that grew to 50 or more employees over a 10-year period.
    • High-Growth Company Density measures how many businesses have at least $2 million in revenue and have grown an average of 20% over the previous three years.

The cities identified as Technology Cities in the Cushman & Wakefield Report are leaders on the Growth Entrepreneurship Index.  These cities have a growth startup rate average of 4.75; well above the 0.32 United States average as a whole.

Several of the cities on the Cushman & Wakefield Technology Cities report also appear on the Forbes Best Cities for Young Professionals 2017 list, making these cities highly desirable to attract a highly educated workforce that’s entrepreneurial minded, as well as the funding and high-growth companies looking for that same workforce.  Here are a few cities to watch representing different areas of the country.

#1 Salt Lake City

Higher Learning Institutions:  University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Weber State University

Recent grad median salary:  $50,500

Population aged 20 to 29:  13%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  33%

#6 Raleigh-Durham

Higher Learning Institutions:  Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina and North Carolina Central University.

Recent grad median salary:  $50,100

Population aged 20 to 29:  14%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  48%

#7 Indianapolis

Higher Learning Institutions:  Purdue University, DePauw University, Indiana University, Butler University, Ball State University and Wabash College

Recent grad median salary:  $48,900

Population aged 20 to 29:  14%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  33%

#9 San Jose

Higher Learning Institutions:  Stanford University, UC Berkley, UC Davis, University of the Pacific, Santa Clara University and University of San Francisco

Recent grad median salary:  $69,200

Population aged 20 to 29:  15%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  48%

#15 Austin

Higher Learning Institutions:  Rice University, UT Austin, Trinity University, Texas A&M University and Baylor University

Recent grad median salary:  $51,800

Population aged 20 to 29:  16%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  43%

#22 Atlanta

Higher Learning Institutions:  Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Spelman College, Mercer University, University of Georgia, Morehouse College, Oglethorpe University, Berry College and Georgia State University

Recent grad median salary:  $50,900

Population aged 20 to 29:  14%

Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher:  37%

Forbes’ report states that the best predicators of making the list were the percentage of adults with degrees beyond high school and the median salary earned by recent college graduates.  Examining both lists can help identify cities to watch as in the technology industry in the United States.  These metropolitan areas and others have established significant momentum, but must continue to focus on attracting and retaining the human capital necessary to support the technology businesses.

Larry Gigerich is executive managing director of Ginovus.

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