Austin seen as ‘meta city’ for San Francisco tech workers, report says

Austin.

Austin.

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Remote jobs have become the new normal for many employers world wide, especially in the world of technology. This is making cities, like London and New York, known for their talent in global businesses lose some of their most valuable workers for cheaper places to live and work from home. 

Urban planner Richard Florida and several Boston Consulting Group associates from the Harvard Business Review are describing this network of “meta cities” as “a web of cities that operate as a distinct unit and are attached to a major — often global — economic hub.” Rather than being defined by a location, a meta city is defined by flows of talent and connections between hubs.

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The report used LinkedIn data from August 2022 to July 2023 and looked closely at the talent moving to and leaving New York, London, and San Francisco. When it came to the Big Apple, Miami both sent the most talent and received the most talent from New York when adjusted for population size, while Austin continues to pull talent and tech companies from San Francisco.

“Austin’s rise is best understood as a satellite of San Francisco’s long-established tech hub,” the report reads. “Miami is enmeshed in New York City’s finance and real estate complex. The rise of the Meta City informs a counterintuitive logic: Leading superstar cities are seeing their role as economic hub expand, even as some talent and some industry disperse to satellite centers.”

Other talent-flowing Texas cities besides Austin mentioned in the report were Houston and Dallas, with all three among the top 10 most-connected cities alongside Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Denver. Dallas is closely trailing Austin to be the top two fastest growing regions in Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman.  

The COVID-19 pandemic only exasperated this flow of Californians and New Yorkers moving to slightly more affordable cities in the Lone Star State for remote and hybrid work opportunities that better fit their lifestyles. 

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The Statesman reported that although Austin still has fewer tech jobs overall than tech city giants like San Francisco, Central Texas saw a 40% growth in tech jobs in the two-year period since the pandemic and in 2022, the Austin metro accounted for 2.1% of all tech jobs nationally. While San Francisco saw its share of total national tech drop from 6.2% to 5.9% in 2022 and Silicon Valley shed about a thousand jobs in the same period for its overall share of national tech jobs to drop to 4.5% last year, according to the Statesman. 

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