Where is the Best Tech Talent?

Hint…It’s not in LA! Over the past 6 months, I have spoken with dozens of talent acquisition professionals representing some of the biggest names in the Los Angeles tech scene. Many of these firms have eight-figure VC banking and are experiencing 100% or better headcount growth annually.

For a small company, the thought of relocation can be a huge pain in the “you know what”. You want to focus on building your empire, not scanning West Side Rentals for your new hire. Besides, Los Angeles is one of the largest job markets in the world. Surely, there is PLENTY of great talent within the city to farm from.

An annual study conducted by real-estate giant, CBRE, seeks to identify which areas in the United States and Canada are the top spots for those working in tech positions. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CBRE listed the top 25 cities for tech talent. Los Angeles was ranked 22nd.

The report can be downloaded here (registration is free):

Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in America, but its tech talent pool is only the 9th largest among cities surveyed. Among the top-ten talent pools (in terms of overall size), Los Angeles has the lowest growth rate at 20.9%. By comparison, the SF Bay area growth rate is 61.2%.

To make matters even more difficult for recruiters, among the Top 40 tech markets, Los Angeles ranks near the bottom in Brain Gain vs. Drain. The problem is not with finding talent straight out of college. Los Angeles and Orange County graduated approximately 49,000 students with tech degrees from 2010-2014, a fairly sizable number.

However only 37,850 new tech jobs were added from 2011-2014. That’s a net loss of 11,150 graduates. And this has been going on for years. Imagine what this kind of imbalance creates over several years. It’s safe to assume that thousands of tech graduates from the previous decade left town years ago. Therefore, when it comes to Senior level tech candidates, the pickings may be slim.

By comparison, the SF Bay area had nearly a 90,000 positive net gain. Even more interesting, the SF Bay area had almost 20,000 fewer tech degrees from the same period and created more than 80,000 more jobs than LA. Only New York and Washington, DC had more tech degrees than LA, and both had positive Brain Gain/Drain (1,375 & 13,460 respectively).

The bottom line is this: There is a growing void of top tech talent in the Los Angeles job market, and the influx of well-funded start-ups is only going to make the job market tighter. Smart companies big or small should look beyond LA for tech talent. There is a significant amount of tech talent in places like Seattle (too much rain), Phoenix (too much heat) and Chicago (too much winter).

So look beyond LA if you want to find top talent! And, to overcome the relocation reluctance that is a part of 60% of corporate relocation decisions, consider providing a relocation concierge benefit as part of your packages. Check out how Relocity can improve your company’s success in attracting and retaining top tech talent.