Austin Skyline: 2010 vs 2017

The Tech Talent Landscape of Austin, TX (2021 Update)

Corey Butler

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Originally written in 2017, Updated for 2021.

Austin continues to land in the “Best Of” news for continued growth. The population growth rate still stands at roughly 120 people per day (157 gross, ~35 people leave each day too). Half of the growth comes from other cities in Texas while the other half comes from out of state.

Austin’s historical lower cost of living led to a reputation of affordability. Combining this with a relaxed lifestyle, attractive climate, and plenty of activities produced a people magnet. Austin evolved into a destination city, and the momentum never slowed down.

This progression has a significant impact on the talent pool. Austin companies continue to approach talent without consideration of the local impact or the manifestation of national talent concerns. Startups and smaller companies tend to feel it most intensely.

The same banter often flows in HR circles, where three common assumptions about the Austin talent pool stand out:

  1. Tech talent is widely available.
  2. Tech talent is world-class.
  3. Tech talent costs less in Austin.

Examining each of these assumptions yields interesting insights that can be applied to employment activities at local and national levels.

Tech Talent Availability

If you’re among those who believe the abundance of technology and entrepreneurship makes Austin a great place to find tech talent, you’d be absolutely right. You’ll find tons of people — who are already employed or building their own company.

Translation: The abundance of talent does not mean it is available.

In fact, the global labor market for tech talent grows more fierce each day. Over 92% of US developers (including students) are already employed (up 3% since 2017).

Job satisfaction is declining.

Of the 92%, 17.3% are actively seeking new work. This is an increase of 4.3% since 2017. 57.6% of developers would consider taking a new job if it was offered. This is known as a passive talent pool. The passive talent pool activity is down 1.4% from 2017, but still remains high.

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Corey Butler

I build communities, companies, and code. Cofounder of Metadoc.io. Created Fenix Web Server & NVM for Windows.