Despite Amazon having recently announced the cancellation of their plans for a new Headquarters in New York City, following a ‘torrent of political opposition’, NYC appears to be storming ahead in the race to become a technology hub.
High living costs, bad press regarding frat-boy-like corporate culture, and lack of diversity, has severely muddied Silicon Valley’s once sparkling image. New York’s rejection of Amazon, a company which city Councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer calls “an anti-union corporation that mistreats workers and assists ICE” shows that the city is already refusing to play by the same rules.
Of course, New York’s living costs are hardly cheap, however a report conducted by the city’s State Comptroller’s Office has found that the average salary within the tech sector has increased 3x faster than the rest of the private sector, allowing those who’d previously seen the city as out of reach to consider the concrete jungle where dreams are made.
With this being just one of the factors, KPMG’s annual survey of tech leaders has found New York to be the global city most likely to become the “leading technology innovation hub outside of Silicon Valley in the next 4 years.” A leap from last year, where it missed out to Shanghai, tying for 3rd with London.
The increase in roles by 57% between 2010 and 2016 has supported this progression, with many attributing this to the influx of young workers, who value a different way of working, to their predecessors. Because of this they may choose to forgo previously sought-after roles in companies such as Google and Facebook, instead plumping for tech roles in other sectors.
Both the NY State Comptroller and Cushman & Wakefields Principal Economist put this down to the variety of roles and opportunities available within New Yorks tech scene, with the latter writing, “if Silicon Valley is the brains of the tech center, then New York is the creative center.”
There is also a recognition that whilst Silicon Valley may have failed at creating a diverse workforce, New York’s existing scene is flourishing, something the Comptrollers report recognizes,
“The high-tech industry’s young, creative workforce is attracted to New York City because of its culture, diversity, public transportation system and the opportunities it offers to live and work in the same community.”
Big tech companies need to recognize this in order to progress in the future, building a standing within central cities to attract younger workers, and rather than bailing as Amazon did, recognize the changes they may have to make in order to succeed in The Big Apple.