- February 25, 2015

For Tech Biz, Study Favors Austin Over San Francisco, NYC

When it comes to the environment for technology businesses, a study released Wednesday (PDF) by the British property consultancy firm Savills finds there are 12 cities that stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. But among those 12, there’s one clear leader: None other than Austin, Texas.

Austin took the title from San Francisco — which was trailed by Tel Aviv and New York City, respectively — thanks to a variety of factors, including quality of life considerations for employees, Internet access speeds, cost of living, GDP growth, and housing price growth.

Among all these factors, access to human capital and the ability to attract more was the key metric that pushed Austin over the top. That’s where Austin’s mixed-use community center, globally known festival scene, and thriving creative culture truly make the city stand out. It helps that the tech-savvy workforce available here skews even younger than San Francisco, and that Austin’s air quality is better.

“Location decisions are predicated on far more than simply the cost of property and in today’s world it is fundamental that companies look closely at how they retain their existing talent pool, attract new talent and keep themselves ahead, in what is an increasingly competitive employment market,” Jon Hutt, head of corporate real estate at Savills, said in an advisory. “The nature of their space, the areas in which they locate, the quality of life that they can offer their teams and the access they have to talent, as they grow, significantly outweigh saving a few dollars on rent.”

“Austin is recognized as a one-of-a-kind place for its innovation, growth and lifestyle,” Michele Skelding, SVP of Global Technology and Innovation for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, told Austin.com in a prepared statement. “A large part of that success is due to developing an environment where creativity is embraced, encouraged and well supported.  Savills’ recent study is another confirmation that Austin’s global technology sector is not only strong, but dynamic.”

Officials with the City of Austin were unavailable for comment at time of publication.

The Texas capital is home to numerous technology companies, and the city cites Dell and IBM as two of the area’s major employers. Other notable technology companies with large workforces in Austin include Apple, Google, Facebook, 3M, HP, Cisco Systems, Intel, Samsung, Oracle, eBay/PayPal, and Blizzard Entertainment.