Building a Remote Workforce

Why The Best Developers Are No Longer In Silicon Valley

by Natalie Philp
 
Why The Best Developers Are No Longer In Silicon Valley

For years Silicon Valley was the shining beacon for leading software developers to relocate to further their careers. However, recent years have seen a seismic shift in where the best developers in the world are actually located. And it’s not Silicon Valley.

Ever since the 1980’s, Silicon Valley and northern California has been a magnet for software entrepreneurs looking for their own unicorn story and software engineers looking for big paychecks. It was thought that the best of the best were always located in Silicon Valley, with companies traditionally recruiting candidates from that area or from known schools. However is the best talent globally really only situated in Northern California? We think not.

Recruitment and Relocation

Before the COVID pandemic, engineering teams had been expanding rapidly. To fill vacant positions, HR teams were working with a limited local talent pool and looking for alternatives to traditional schools and recruitment catchment areas. Relocating employees from tech hubs in Asia or Europe to the Bay Area became commonplace, as were recruiting graduates from lesser known schools.

HR teams relocating staff had additional financial and human implications for the businesses and employees alike. Although staff were getting paid local pays, they had local expenses for things like rent and food. Staff were also having to make the difficult decision whether to move their families to their new home, or leave them behind.

Lifestyle Costs In Northern California

Although it did have great weather, the Northern California lifestyle was proving to rapidly become unviable for employees to actually live in the region or within commuting distance of the big tech hubs. Employees were beginning to be impacted by limited housing stock and astronomical everyday living costs eating into paychecks. 

When the COVID pandemic hit, knowledge workers were forced to start working remotely. Once they needed to work remotely, leading software developers fled to less expensive areas of the US, taking their serious paychecks with them. All while continuing to work remotely for their organizations.

Silicon Valley Doesn’t Have To Be The Only Tech Hub

Throughout this COVID period, other countries were identifying the benefits established tech hubs would bring, and started to build their own tech / Innovation Hub versions. A recent KPMG survey identified 10 cities that had emerging tech hubs, all competing for the software developer talent pools. According to the report, the deciding factors for an innovation / tech hub included proximity to a research-intensive university and access to a vibrant and energetic lifestyle that will attract young professionals, thereby contributing to a skilled talent pool.

These new innovation and tech hubs meant leading software developers could either stay in their home countries or relocate to a less expensive location (compared to Silicon Valley / Northern California) while maintaining a great lifestyle.

Rethinking the Traditional Model

With this brain drain away from Silicon Valley to other innovation hubs, and the remote work practices of major organizations (not just the tech industry), it forced a rethink of traditional recruitment methods and with that, employee locations. 

With their teams working remotely, HR and organizations discovered it doesn’t matter if your employees are physically located in San Francisco or Slovenia. This has opened up a global talent pool for HR Departments, with a global-first (and remote-first) recruitment strategy being able to target and hire the best software developers, no matter their location.

As the world recovers from COVID, the majority of firms have continued with their remote-work policies, as organizations have seen the benefits remote-workers can provide. Not only can they recruit the best of the best, but productivity has also increased meaning a win-win for organizations. Notwithstanding the fact these organizations can also save on large expenses such as rent and employee amenities.

Where Does This Leave Software Developers?

As knowledge workers who can easily perform their roles remotely, software developers have always been at the forefront of the remote work revolution. Now with HR and organizations opening up their recruitment opportunities worldwide, and enabling their employees to work remotely, the best software developers can build their career and live where they want, and guess what - we’re finding out that’s not Silicon Valley.

Before COVID, if leading software developers wanted to further their career, they would have had to relocate to Silicon Valley. With the housing shortages combined with exorbitant living costs in the Bay Area, why would they want to relocate? They can remain in their current location with their family, and continue their careers working wherever they are.

The Future of Remote Work

In 2014, Crossover could see the future was remote work. Since then we have hired the top 1% of software developers worldwide for great remote work careers. Our recruitment processes include comprehensive CCAT and skills testing, and only the best of the best earn their badges and subsequently a role. So we can say with certainty the best software developers in the world are definitely not located in Silicon Valley, as we have been recruiting them for many years. Find out more about us.

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