tech talent

Big Tech Keeps Silicon Valley a Magnet for Global Talents

The countless articles about people moving out of San Francisco always leave something out: those who move into the city. In a 2019-2020 report by the California Department of Finance (CDOF), the state’s population increased by over 20,000 people. San Francisco ranks 12th in the state for size and 13th for the actual increase in its population count. 

Other than San Francisco, the CDOF report cited Alameda, Contra Costa, San Diego, and Santa Clara as the cities in California that have “gained population, but at a slower pace compared to the same time last year.” 

So why do people still move to San Francisco? Most recent immigrants establish roots in the US in America’s major cities, pumping economic lifeblood that allows these major cities to continue thriving. If not for the usual influx of immigrants, there would be no regular cycle of people coming into US cities. Those who have lived long enough in cities who move out also energize small towns. 

Of course, there were more people who still left California last year than those who moved in, but to say everyone is moving out is an exaggeration. The Bay Area draws in people for it’s startup mindset.

Startup mindset

Big ideas matter in California and they get funded, too. Can entrepreneurship be taught or can a city dominate it? The can-do mentality in northern California is strong. People actually believe things can get done here, thanks to the many talents it produces — from the likes of Stanford University, UC Berkeley and California Institute of Technology.

In Sunnyvale, about 50% of adults have undergraduate degrees, 25% with advanced degrees. The ratio is even higher the closer one gets to Stanford and just about where Apple, Facebook and Google offices are located.

Northern California has an abundance of talent. It’s a magnet for the best and brightest like other key US cities.

Many talented software engineers from Asia and Europe choose to work in Silicon Valley for the opportunities working for the tech giants, with some of them staying for good.

Breakdown of employees

In July 2020, Silicon Valley Business Journal gave a comprehensive breakdown of employees in Silicon Valley: Apple has 25,000 workers; Alphabet Inc and Google, 23,000 local employees; the county of Santa Clara in San Jose, 18,570 local employees; Stanford University, 15,576 local employees; and Facebook Inc in Menlo Park with 15,407 local employees. San Francisco figures were not available.

This list was reportedly compiled using data submitted by the participating employers as well as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports from various cities and counties, company websites and Business Journal research. 

But yes, there are problems in the Bay Area that need to be addressed, especially homelessness and some companies leaving it for lower taxes in other cities. It just means that other cities will get to enjoy some of the windfall that Silicon valley has enjoyed through the years. 

Besides, the tech titans are staying. With their combined revenue, the Bay Area can stay afloat and still attract the best talents in the world. What mainstays here observe: The Bay Area can rebound quickly if things get rough somewhere else.  (Dennis Clemente)