Why Denver’s Technology Industry is the Nation’s Next Tech Mecca
Denver is widely considered an up-and-coming location, as Americans flock to the mountainous city in droves. In fact, the Denver area experienced one of the largest influxes of American migrants in the country between 2010 and 2014. It’s more than just a nice place to live, with beautiful outdoor spaces and all of the big-city amenities: Denver’s technology market is booming. Colorado has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, especially in IT which has resulted in huge shortages for in-demand roles like IT engineers and software developers. Below, we’re exploring the state of Denver’s technology industry and what makes the city the nation’s next tech mecca.
The Current State of Denver’s Tech Industry
Over the past five years, software and IT employment grew 32% in the Denver metro area, outpacing nationwide tech growth by more than five points. Even with a massive migration into the city, tech professionals have struggled to keep pace with the growing number of jobs, creating a talent gap that companies are vying to close. The tech industry is dominating the city’s evolution, and as of the start of 2018, Denver boasts the eighth-highest concentration of tech workers among major American cities. This rapid growth in employment points to Denver’s thriving technology industry, as startups and established organizations alike are finding success in the Mile-High city.
An Abundance of IT Talent
Denver’s massive influx of people has included a large pool of IT professionals. Though the hiring market remains strained due to open positions outnumbering qualified jobseekers, there has been significant growth in the overall talent pool. Between 2010 and 2015, the tech talent pool in the Denver metro area rose by 29%, adding to the city’s thriving technology community. This growth is positioned to continue, as high-tech employment is forecasted to grow another 3.4% in 2018.
What’s driving this move? Recent research by Glassdoor indicates that IT professionals working in Denver were able to stretch their dollars further than they could in cities like San Francisco and Boston. The city routinely ranks among the top on best-places-to-live lists like U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 ranking, which places Denver in the second slot. In the IT world specifically, Denver has actually been ranked as the top city for technology professionals out of the nation’s emerging tech hubs due to the high average wage, steady employment levels, and booming housing market.
Each of these accolades is a testament to the fact that Denver is highly attractive for the kind of innovative IT pros that growing tech companies are seeking. Not only is the city growing through migration, it is also producing a huge amount of skilled professionals from nearby universities like the University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University. The amount of active tech talent in the Denver area is helping local organizations thrive and bringing new companies to the region. In 2017, CBRE ranked Denver #12 out of the top 50 tech talent markets in North America, with nearly 3,500 more open tech jobs than graduates in the metro area. This highlights how the current Denver technology market is providing benefits for both IT professionals and employers.
Huge Opportunities for Startups and Established Companies
There are a variety of reasons beyond the rising number of skilled tech professionals that are bringing organizations to the Denver area. To start, Denver has long established itself as a startup haven, boasting a number of incubators and accelerators that are positioned to encourage growth for new tech startups. As a whole, the state of Colorado ranks sixth among states receiving the most venture capital, demonstrating the heavy investment being made in Denver’s tech scene. Beyond those private supports, the city’s government has also made significant strides to assist Denver’s technology industry in achieving its desired growth.
Companies are attracted to Colorado in part because of the city’s tax structure, which imposes few regulatory burdens and has one of the lowest, most competitive corporate income tax structures in the nation. These incentives are already paying off, as powerhouse companies like Google and successful startups like Slack are moving into the city, expanding employment and opening up new offices. The Colorado Technology Association is also a great partner to any organization in Denver. Through advocacy, STEM education, community, and a drive for building a robust economy, this association has had a hand in building technology in Denver since its inception in 1994. Denver’s reputation as a center for innovation and true partner to entrepreneurs and businesses has helped to attract organizations and drive the tech industry’s evolution.
The Nation’s Next Tech Mecca
While Denver can’t yet compete with Silicon Valley, the Mile-High city is well on its way with a flourishing technology industry that is focused on growth and innovation. For companies and professionals alike, this city offers a wealth of opportunity. While this doesn’t solve the tech skills shortage, it does provide a leg up to organizations that understand the market and have a strong talent partner like KORE1 at their side.