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“If you build it, they will come…” This mantra was true of the Field of Dreams, and now of San Diego’s burgeoning tech ecosystem.
Together with 35 of San Diego's best and biggest tech companies, Innovate78 representatives joined the San Diego Venture Group's Tacos + Tech in Silicon Valley last week. The event – appropriately held at the Computer History Museum – played host to more than 700 curious Bay Area engineers and programmers, and served to showcase the high-tech jobs and opportunities available across San Diego.
With a special focus on attracting Bay Area engineers, North County companies like ViaSat, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Verve, as well as other San Diego companies like Illumina, Dexcom, ResMed, Qualcomm, Human Longevity, Cubic, Hired and LoanHero set up shop at the job fair-like event. Company recruiters spoke to San Diego as the alternative to Northern California’s congested traffic, high cost of living, hyper-competitive workforce culture and other issues plaguing the region.
As a proud sponsor, the EDC-led economic development initiative Innovate78 represented North County at a booth, with leaders from the five cities along the 78 Corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista – at the helm. Conversations with attendees ranged from North County housing costs to the growing tech sector, to the many breweries that make up the ‘Hops Highway’ – one of the primary booths highlighting the region's lifestyle.
While many attendees admitted connection to San Diego through family, school or dream vacations, it seemed as though the region’s tech ecosystem – which employs nearly 69,000 people – has flown under the radar. Tacos + Tech provided a platform for some of San Diego County’s top employers and innovators to attract Bay Area talent through simply sharing San Diego's reality: a broad diversity of career opportunity mixed with a top-tier quality of life (and, of course, tacos and beer). For decades, San Diego has built this ecosystem, and now…the talent will most certainly come.
Tacos + Tech comes on the heels of SDVG's Beachhead launch, a coworking space for San Diego entrepreneurs working out of Silicon Valley.
Today, we welcomed Wrike, a Silicon Valley-based SaaS startup to San Diego. While Wrike is certainly a unique company, its situation is one we know well.
Recognizing the talent footprint in the region, Wrike chose to expand to San Diego, bringing with it 150 jobs over the next three years. Located a stone’s throw away from UC San Diego, Wrike is looking to attract talent from the region’s top universities, including SDSU and CSUSM. The company considered Raleigh, Phoenix and Chicago as alternative locations, but in the end, chose San Diego as the place to expand its California footprint.
"We're thrilled to expand to San Diego and open this location as a launch pad for our growth here,” said Seth Shaw, Wrike’s Chief Revenue Officer and San Diego expansion lead. “We've been really impressed with the high caliber of talent in the region and the enthusiasm for growing professionally in a startup environment."
EDC’s recent data can attest to the depth of San Diego’s talent pool. In 2014, San Diego gained 72,000 degree holders – more than any other major metro area. However, it’s not just the talent pool that attracted Wrike here, but the quality of life the region offers to employees. Not only are the region's beaches ranked among the best in the country, but San Diego ranks fourth in number of sunshine hours (yes, that’s a metric), and has the lowest average commute time among our peer metros. Life most certainly works here, and we’re proud that Wrike agrees.
Talent is the cornerstone of today’s global economy. It drives corporate location decisions, encourages innovative urban planning and inspires entrepreneurship. In essence, talent is the key to economic growth. If regions – such as San Diego – want to get ahead, they must have the workforce to compete.
Today, San Diego Regional EDC released “Talent: Where San Diego Stands,” a comprehensive study that contextualizes San Diego’s standing in talent growth and retention with regard to highly-skilled engineering, science and tech talent in nine peer metros including Austin, Denver and San Francisco. By analyzing key factors for firms and site selectors and comparing key characteristics that attract talent, San Diego can better understand how to maintain its competitive edge.
Among peer metros, San Diego ranks…
2nd – percent growth of degree-holding millennials (age 25-34)
1st – concentration of scientific R&D firms and employment
3rd– wages in sciences and engineering jobs
1st – lowest average commute times
2nd – average annual pay for R&D employees at $176,000
3rd – total number of scientific R&D firms
When looking for a place to start or continue a career, talent is demanding change. Infrastructure and creative office design are becoming critical requirements. Innovative workspaces, lifestyle, competitive wages and economic opportunity matter.
Thank you to our study sponsors iboss Cybersecurity and Kilroy Realty Corp. with additional support provided by CBRE.