Image for blog post 2021 Austin Tech Insights with James Lafferty
Image for blog post 2021 Austin Tech Insights with James Lafferty

2021 Austin Tech Insights with James Lafferty

James Lafferty Austin

We have been operating in Austin for almost 6 years and seen exponential growth in this time. We have welcomed a lot of larger companies and also seen consistent success in the start-up scene with the likes of Capital factory being a powerhouse in that world. Every week there was a new article about how Austin was the place to be. It truly was the worst kept secret in the tech world.

Our thriving commercial landscape had been growing so much and turning every corner there was another company with another ping pong table and a beer keg. Company culture was the big selling point for every employer and hot ticket candidate.

2020 made the world smaller for corporations and tech. Overnight, employees were sent home with a laptop and maybe swiping a few La Croix(s) from the office fridge with an unknown return date.

As a staffing company, we pride ourselves on being at the heart of the city and understanding the hiring challenges in the tech industry. Overnight we saw the pandemic come and we said goodbye to the live music in our city. Hiring paused, we were waiting on the world to see what it was like on the other side. 

Some companies were continuing to get their footprint in Austin with Oracle leaving San Francisco and coming to Austin. HEB growing here and BAE also adding more than 700 jobs in Austin. The Chamber of Commerce has been very busy making this attractive city even more accessible for Tech! According to PWC, VC funding in 2020 was the highest it has ever been, distributing $130 billion dollars. 

PwC and CB Insights just released their latest report on VC funding. The US highlights:

  • Funding: 2020 was the biggest-ever funding year, with VCs disbursing $130 billion. The previous record was $122 billion in 2018.

  • Unicorns: 28 startups grew unicorn horns in Q4 2020 alone. For context, the US only has 225 total unicorns (startups valued north of $1 billion). 

  • Megadeals: We saw more $100+ million deals than ever last year—318 versus 220 in 2019. 

  • Miami: Funding went up 685% quarter over quarter in Q4 and 72% year over year.

With the pandemic not going anywhere, some brave companies embraced this “new normal” and said, “we aren't going back to the old normal”. Hiring started again and some companies put their best foot forward saying they were going to a distributed workforce.

Companies soon realized that the workload wasn't going anywhere and needed to hire more people to avoid burning their workforce out. The rush started again, everyone was back to hiring and according to Linkedin, Austin had the 2nd most opportunities for job seekers behind Seattle (Amazon’s HQ).

These vacancies aren't just being filled with people in Austin. Companies are taking advantage of the remote working environment. However, a huge number of people are moving from high-cost cities like San Francisco and New York to more affordable Texas cities.

Over the last 6-12 months, we have noticed some key trends in the tech market. Salaries were fairly consistent for the last 5 years with moderate growth. Recently it has seen companies from the high-cost cities dipping into the talent pool in Austin and driving up salaries. 

Companies in Austin were already higher than the national average but now people can earn a bay area wage and sit at their home. The ping pong tables gathering dust in the office.

Candidates have the choice now, some want to work from home and love this new world. Others still want to be interacting with their peers in real life and not Zoom! Not a day will go by without a recruiter messaging about their next opportunity. There are so many attractive options out there, people are changing jobs more frequently as the demand for talent is so high.

Companies have to adapt and evolve. We are also seeing companies looking more into benefits and culture around their values. Now it’s about production rather than hours worked. 

We have seen some companies take advantage of the talent pool with a smooth and efficient process. Enabling them to hire the best talent and with less competition. On the other hand, some companies are taking their time, shopping around, and often find themselves in a bidding war for talent or simply missing out.

The bottom line is that Austin is still as competitive as it has always been but tech companies now face competition on a national scale rather than just locally.

If you need tech talent, our team of specialist tech recruiters is here to help fill that gap. Find your local Austin tech recruiter here.

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