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What the Amazon HQ2 Decision Means for Tech Pros

Oh, the drama. No, not the llama llama stuff I have been reading to my young children this week. I am talking about the speculation and rumors swirling about where Amazon will decide to build their much hyped HQ2. It is a big deal. Amazon is promising “tens of thousands of jobs” and “tens of billions in community investments”. Recent reports suggest we will not learn which cities are the actual finalists until early next year. Therefore, I wanted to share why tech professionals who live in the contending cities should put landing Amazon’s HQ2 number one on this year’s list for Santa.

What the Amazon HQ2 Decision Means for Tech Pros

I’ve spent my entire career in recruiting and the world of hiring. Calling Texas home has given me a unique perspective. As you may know, Dallas, Texas has been the go-to location for relocating your corporate HQ over the past few years. A business friendly economy, lack of state income taxes, affordable housing (it was affordable two years ago), great infrastructure, good schools, and plentiful real estate are just some of the many reasons why companies of all sizes have flocked. Recently, we have seen Toyota, USAA, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual all make North Texas their home, in addition to upcoming initiatives from Charles Schwab, Boeing and JP Morgan Chase. While there are many economists who can more eloquently articulate the forecasted unemployment, GDP, and wage growth impacts an Amazon HQ will bring, I can tell you what actually happens on the street. Especially for those of us who work in the tech and professional sector. So, for those lucky enough to eventually host the new HQ2, here is what to expect.

You will make more money. Yes, salaries and contracting rates will go up. They will outpace the national average. You may have to switch jobs to earn your market rate, but if you are opportunistic, you will be able to significantly grow your income. According to our latest salary survey, in just the past two years, Java Developers in Dallas have seen their salaries increase 13% to an average of $117K. Project Managers and mobile experts are both up 10%. That is substantial wage growth. Further, for top talent we see stories of amazing increases each month. We are helping experienced and talented professionals in emerging technologies (think DevOps, AI, cutting edge new development) to consistently negotiate 20% increases when they change jobs.

Opportunities for everyone. The trickle-down effect is powerful. Yes, the big corporate names are sexy and lots of people will end up working there but, most of us won’t. The great opportunities will not stop there. Equally important are all the roles that open up when people quit their good jobs to go work at that new beautiful campus for a Fortune 500. It is hard to measure the actual numbers but I know so many people in Dallas who have their new great job, because their predecessor quit to take their new great job. The trickle-down effect is what really makes these relos so beautiful for the majority of tech professionals. Be prepared to get calls from all types of companies you have never heard of. It is a real snowball effect that gives candidates so much leverage in a tight labor market. Lastly, but most fulfilling, are the opportunities that open for those in the unemployed/underemployed/new graduate market. Consistently, we see these big HQ moves create good jobs for those willing to put in the effort due to the residual effect across the entire local economy.

Your current company will attempt to retain you. The new guy in town who is hiring like crazy causes the existing employers to act a bit paranoid (often with good reason). When you land that new offer and go to resign, chances are high that your existing employer will give you a counteroffer. They will match your salary, give you a new title, allow that work from home flexibility that was never possible before. Crazy, I know, but we see it every single week. Executives at companies not known for being employee focused quickly become very interested in retention strategies and attrition rates. Be ready for that new ping pong table and quarterly team bowling outing! Just what you wanted, right?!?

Your commute is not getting better. Sorry. Just ask anyone that commutes through the $5 Billion Mile about that.

We are always here to help you process big job changes and strategies to hire the talent you need. Don't hesitate to reach out! Talk to you soon and Merry Christmas!!

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