When we talk about hot tech hubs, who gets the most air time? Typically, it’s behemoths like Silicon Valley and New York City or exciting newbies like Nashville and Buffalo. However, these polar opposites both have their shortcomings. Renowned tech centers are saturated with expensive talent and emerging tech centers are still working to attract a larger labor pool. Yet it is places like the Chicago IT job market, often overlooked, that provide the widespread, economical talent that businesses need.

Chicago’s Tech Job Growth Is Sustainable

The overall percentage of tech job growth is only a fraction of the tech sector picture. San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle all had jaw-dropping tech job growth over 50% from 2010 to 2015. During the same stretch, the Chicago IT job market experienced a modest yet respectable tech job growth of 35%. On the surface, the first three cities appear to have the most competitive talent pools. But additional factors make the Chicago talent pool a more stable and valuable resource to businesses.

Consider escalating real estate prices. San Francisco real estate is bloated out of proportion compared to the rest of the nation. Tech workers looking to rent a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s center pay 106.45% more than their Windy City counterparts. Those looking to buy a home in the Golden Gate City should expect to pay $1 million on average, leading a growing number of tech professionals to relocate to cities with less extreme real estate hikes.

Many of those tech professionals are migrating to Seattle, but rental prices have been on the rise there as well. Year over year, Seattle rental prices have gone up 6.5%. How long will it be before tech professionals look elsewhere? When they do, the far lower rates of the Chicago market will bring more talent to the Midwest.

On another front, tech salaries in Chicago are more affordable than many of the marquee metropolitan tech centers. Annual tech payrolls in Chicago are 29% less than San Francisco, 21% less than Seattle, 18% less than New York, and 17% less than Los Angeles. And best of all, tech workers in the Chicago IT job market are of comparable quality with their peers elsewhere.

Chicago Is Still Attracting and Fostering Top Talent

Healthy job markets are always finding new ways to expand their supply line and the Chicago IT job market consistently does just that. Top talent of different levels require different incentives to be convinced to call Chicago their home. And we see two specific initiatives that will continue to draw some of the best tech workers to our metro area.

The Chicago IT job market has lots of raw, entry level talent because of the universities feeding into the local market. Of the top 25 grad schools for computer science, three universities count Chicago among their closest, high-density tech centers: U of I at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Purdue University.

Once that talent is trained and ready, a strong tech sector has the opportunities to attract them. The Chicago IT job market has opportunities aplenty. Take a look at the number of Chicago tech companies on the rise. At least 25 fast-growing Chicago tech companies are predicted to get acquired or IPO in the next 18 to 24 months. That adds to the herd of Chicago based tech companies like Groupon, GrubHub, kCura, and others that have IPO’ed in recent years. More Chicago companies receiving that level of investment means more tech talent will be attracted to the area, creating a positive feedback loop that can change the market for the better.

Chicago startups are also being provided with fertile ground for growth thanks to local tech incubators and venture capitalists. Chicago tech incubator 1871 continues to funnel resources and the wisdom of tech thought leaders into the tech economy from their home in the Merchandise Market. Moreover, local venture capitalist firms are making bolder moves and funding companies that are oriented toward the future.

That culmination of money, ideas, resources, and local thought leaders all continue to stoke the fires burning steadily in the Chicago IT job market. Companies that succeed in making the Windy City and all its advantages work for them have learned how to mine for local talent.

Thriving in the Chicago IT Job Market

So, what’s the secret sauce that allows certain businesses to hire talent that’s on par with any of Silicon Valley’s best? In truth, several elements are at play.

Companies that successfully acquire the best members of the Chicago IT job market have extensive connections to local talent, know how to review that talent for longevity and cultural fit, and can move fast before the better reflexes of other companies prevail. Unless a business has entire days and weeks to dedicate to nothing but hiring, they may very well miss out on influential talent.

It’s that level of dedication that TransTech IT Staffing always offers client. We have experience finding Chicago’s best tech professionals and a reputation for placing employees that stick around for the long haul. Plus, our culture is always evolving, so we’re always working to overcome the latest market challenges. Contact us today if you want to tap into Chicago’s greatest potential.