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    Bay Area strengthens position as tech capital of America

    Posted by Samantha Johnson

    Posted on 22nd Feb 2020 in Office Culture


    The southern Bay Area was referred to as the "Valley of Heart's Delight" in the early 20th century. The name was in reference to acres of orchards that sprouted myriad fruits throughout the years. It was after World War II when innovators and silicon chip manufacturers began moving into the area. Virtually every computerized device needed silicon chips, and that remains the reality in 2020.

    Don Hoefler was working for Electronic News when he pinned a series of articles entitled "Silicon Valley USA." He's often given credit for coining the term as a result of those articles. Hoefler is said to have learned the word from entrepreneur Ralph Vaerst. The narrative by the Computer History Museum in Mountain View is that Vaerst started talking about Silicon Valley as early as 1970. But there are others who believe the term has been around since the mid-1960s.

    The growing network of tech minds, along with a readily-available inventory of semiconductors, led to many tech companies setting up shop in the southern Bay Area. Silicon Valley is still how many people identify the southern Bay. But today it expands into San Francisco and Oakland.

    The Dotcom Boom

    The Bay Area employed 718,700 tech workers in December of 2000, according to the California Employment Development Department. That was a record number at the time and includes the entire nine-county area. Of course the dotcom bubble burst the following year. Tech jobs shrank by nearly 15% as numerous internet startup companies folded.

    It didn't take long for the area to recover. The tech sector outpaced overall employment in the Bay Area from 2009-2019, with 56% growth in that time period. All other sectors grew by 29.5%, according to the data. Bay Area tech jobs peaked at 831,700 in April of 2019. The dotcom era at the turn of the century was a time of experimentation in Silicon Valley. Today the Bay is firmly entrenched in its position.

    Shaky startups like and are gone. Apple, Facebook, and Google replaced them. The Bay Area will be the tech capital of the world for the foreseeable future.

    Cost of living issue

    The only thing standing in the way of the Bay Area maintaining its stranglehold on technology is the high cost of living in the nine-county metro. A 2019 Robert Half Technology survey found that 47% of Bay Area tech workers feel they are underpaid. Granted that number is lower than the national average of 53% believing they are underpaid. But there may not be much room for wage growth.

    Bay Area tech workers are already paid 41% more than their counterparts across the country. Chief information officers in the Bay Area had an average salary over $400,000 in 2019, more than many CEOs in other cities. All of these dynamics have created opportunities for other U.S. cities to make their marks in technology.

    Atlanta was tops at employing tech workers this time last year, at about 948 per 100,000 residents. Seattle, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Hartford rounded out the top five. Atlanta tech workers earned an average salary of $85,920 in 2019, compared to $145,000 in San Francisco. But the average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs nearly $3,500 per month, compared to $1,400 monthly in Atlanta.

    Eco Office has been the one-stop office furniture and design solution in the Bay Area since the 1970s. Our wide selection of both new and used office furniture provides our clients numerous options for their office builds and redesigns. Give us a call today at 408-437-1700 to discuss your needs.

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