- On April 24, 2021
Most of us now have received at least one vaccination shot and are now wondering what lies ahead for our career. How much will the office and city make a difference post-pandemic? Employers are all grappling with this question, and the media has reported extensively about the exodus of companies from the San Francisco Bay Area, e.g., to Florida and Texas. Does it make sense to stay in the Bay Area for your career?
I believe the Bay Area will always be a big player for a few factors.
- The Bay Area startup scene is still stellar. Wired reports: The lion’s share of investments in Q1 this year went to the Bay Area (one third of $69B). This amount “is greater than the next three cities—New York, Boston, and Los Angeles—combined, and more than 30 times the investments in cities like Austin.” (See also the April 21 WSJ article on the record flow of investments to Silicon Valley.)
- Startup exits are still concentrated in California. The top three exits in Q1 (Roblox, Tuya Smart, and Affirm) were all in the Bay Area and totaled $63B between them.
- Silicon Valley’s slice of the startup pie remains outsized; “the pie has just gotten bigger. That’s in part because the overall size of venture spending, and the overall size of investment rounds, has grown a ton… If Silicon Valley has competition anywhere, it’s not Miami or Austin, but Shanghai or Seoul.”
- The market for Silicon Valley office space has remained strong, showing commitment to stay from employers. Bloomberg found Silicon Valley has the lowest rate of office vacancy compared to other metro areas. Before the pandemic, little office space was available, and throughout the pandemic, companies have continued to pay the rent and hold onto their (now vacant) space. This trend suggests they plan to hire people and bring at least a good percentage of the workforce back in-person.
Finally, the New York Times reviewed outflow from the Bay Area, and found people are generally staying local. Although more people left San Francisco than moved in, the ones leaving were mostly staying in-state and in fact another part of the Bay Area. Indeed, suburban home prices and rents are rising here.
The prediction of Silicon Valley’s death seems exaggerated to me!