Austin is one of the hottest cities in the US (not just temperature hot) trending every top 10 list from the past five years so it wasn’t much of a surprise that Dropbox announced that they would be adding their second office here.
Dropbox can look forward to a business friendly environment and a deep pool of talented technology workers both of which are in short supply in the bay area. They can thank The University of Texas at Austin for that last part because the school is largely responsible for the vast number of skilled tech workers living in the area many whom were at one point in their lives one of the 50,000 students who attend the school each year.
The University of Texas at Austin campus at dusk (www.longhornleasing.com)
Austin based companies shouldn’t worry about Dropbox stealing away all the best talent, nope, UT has everyone covered. They will simply create more.
Enrollment to UT has increased in the recent years to meet demand and this year more than 38,000 students who applied to join the freshman class. Many of these applicants chose UT because of its stellar reputation, high class education and low cost tuition. And for many of the same reasons that Dropbox chose Austin, they are attracted to the great lifestyle, low cost of living offered by the city.
Silicon Valley based companies struggle to find talent and the situation is getting increasingly worse. The increase in available startup capital and the lower cost requirements to create startups attract many potential workers into starting their own companies. It has become so difficult to hire them that many companies like Yahoo have turned to acqui-hire where they buy a startup, shut down its services and lock the founders into long term employment contracts.
Austin has a strong job market, actually its the strongest in the US according to On Numbers Economic Index making it easier for graduating students to find great jobs. Many UT students fall in love with Austin while attending school so being able to find a job and stay increases the overall value prop of their education.
Dropbox’s move to Austin will add new job opportunities and UT graduating students will likely fill some of them. US News and World report has UT ranked at #5 for best schools to get a computer science degree and when you consider that it costs half the price of the schools ranked above it the overall proposition just sings. Now add a mix of fantastic job opportunities from some of the best technology companies which are just down the block from the University and you’ve the perfect mix – no – the ultimate mix for attracting the smartest students from around the world.
Dropbox’s move to Austin is good for the University of Texas which will attract even more outstanding applicants eventually producing an even larger, deeper more talented pool of workers that will attract more companies like Dropbox to Austin. Its a wonderful cycle that is creating significant growth for Austin and I’m excited to see where it takes us.
Forbes just released a list of cities with the best job growth and Austin tops it. With a projected annual job growth of 4% its no wonder that our unemployment rate is so low. At 5.5% Austin can expect more than just Dropbox to come looking to settle down here.