According to a Bloomberg Businessweek graphic, Illinois is the fifth largest source of talent for Silicon Valley, behind Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Washington.
The Chicago tech community is well aware that Silicon Valley is a constant threat to poach talent. There are creative ways companies try to keep employees here in Chicago, but talented people still leave.
Amy Cwalina, head of recruiting for Lightbank, said Chicago has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of retaining tech talent. But she said the idea that employees receive drastically lower pay is a common misconception about Chicago, particularly for top talent.
“The biggest startups [in Chicago] can pay what is considered market rate,” she said. “It’s a common misconception that you’re always going to have to take a pay decrease (if you work in Chicago). Companies know how to compensate that tech person if they want them. It could be a higher salary. Higher equity. There are different incentives that are more beneficial. Flexibility to work from home, stock options, vacation time, those sorts of things.”
And you can potentially make a name for yourself in Chicago quicker than you can in more saturated markets like Silicon Valley, she said.
“I think we are the next hub of where the next tech scene is growing,” she said. “It’s fun to be here. In Silicon Valley and New York, you can kind of fly under the radar.”
The study found a few other pieces of information that were noteworthy, and gave a look into what makes up the Silicon Valley workforce.
- In 2010, Asian Americans became the majority of the tech workforce in the valley for the first time, making up 50.1 percent.
- 40.7 percent of the workforce is white.
- One-third of the startups on Silicon Valley are founded by Native Americans.
- Net migration to Silicon Valley reached 13,766 in 2013, the most in a decade.
Rounding out the top 10 were the Philippines, China, New York, India and Florida. The last U.S. state to rank in the top 100 was Vermont, which came in at 93 behind countries like Iraq, Ukraine and Nigeria.
In 2012, 51 percent of Silicon Valley’s population spoke a language other than english exclusively at home. That’s compared to 21 percent in the U.S.
Photo via Wiki Commons