Opportunities, cost of living, and culture are top advantages of doing business in Austin
Austin’s pool of qualified job candidates is a top draw for the tech industry, according to a new survey conducted by software design and development leader projekt202.
For the August 2019 survey, projekt202 — which itself began in Austin 16 years ago — polled top technology leaders and executives across the Austin, Texas metro area.
Asked about the advantages for companies based in Austin, an overwhelming majority of respondents (75%) cited the area’s job pool and availability of qualified talent.
“It’s competitive,” cautioned one survey participant. “You have to appreciate your employees or they’ll find better opportunities.”
Echoed another, “Build a culture and treat your talent right.”
According to projekt202’s survey, Austin’s lower cost of living — compared with tech centers in New York and California — was also named as a distinct advantage.
Other Austin advantages mentioned included the Central Texas culture, educational opportunities, general growth across the region, and the city’s appeal to younger generations of workers.
“Austin culturally embraces and encourages creators, builders, dreamers of all kinds,” said one tech leader.
“It’s a great market to build a business,” one respondent said.
The quality of available employees was also the top reason (38%) for tech leaders to base their operations in Austin. In addition, respondents in the projekt202 poll named the city’s affordability, tech growth, educational opportunities, centralized U.S. location, and founders’ hometown as rationale for the Austin locale. An executive director even cited Austin’s famed barbecue as a tongue-in-cheek reason for beefing up the company’s presence in the area.
The main disadvantages cited for Austin businesses will come as no surprise to commuters: traffic congestion and the area’s infrastructure.
Despite these drawbacks, when asked for the main reasons these executives chose to stay and work in the Austin area, the top answer was quality of life. Other reasons included ample job opportunities, proximity to friends and families, educational resources, and Austin’s reputation as a hub for innovation.
“Huge opportunity to innovate in a very livable city,” noted one participant.
Tech leaders in the projekt202 survey represent a broad mix of Austin’s corporate environment, ranging from managers and directors to vice presidents and company owners. A majority work for organizations that each employ more than 1,000 people.
Half of the respondents have lived in the Austin area between two and 10 years, while 30% have called Austin home for nearly 20 years and 20% for over two decades.
The projekt202 survey found that respondents prefer to engage with the tech community through local meetups, associations and peer groups, and annual conferences and events, including Austin Design Week and Big Design in Dallas.
“Employers that open their doors to the tech community for meetups are thriving,” said one person in the survey.
“With our roots in Austin, we’ve taken a lead in engaging our community through our founding of the XD Leadership Alliance,” added Russ Bair, President of projekt202 North America. “It’s become a thriving executive networking group for industry thought leaders in the fields of Design, Technology, Research, Product and Marketing. In fact, XD has become so successful that it’s branched out into Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle. It’s a way of investing in and empowering leaders through cross-functional collaboration.”
“Networking is key in this city, along with brand awareness,” said a tech manager. “An influx of larger agencies means that any new startup has to be aggressive.”
Asked by projekt202 about favorite Austin-area trends and emerging technology on their radar, surveyed tech leaders cited a variety, including artificial intelligence, growth in B2C startups, digital health, virtual reality and augmented reality, the continuing value of remote and work-from-home employment options, a passion for diversity and inclusiveness, and the rise of female founders.
The tech survey provides an insightful look into the Austin market, where projekt202 was founded in 2003 to become the leader in experience-driven software strategy, design and development. projekt202 employs its unique, proven methodology — based in behavioral science — to uncover users’ and customers’ motivations and needs, leading to improved software experiences.
projekt202 is the leader in experience-driven software strategy, design and development. We have a unique and established methodology for understanding people in context — we reveal unmet needs — which drives everything we do. This leads to a crisp, clear understanding of the customer, which shapes the design and development of new solutions and experiences. We have the expertise, teams, skills and scale to deliver sophisticated software solutions that improve any and all touchpoints across the user journey.
projekt202 has spent over 15 years bringing to life and to market compelling experiences through our Experience Strategy & Insight, User Experience, Software Development, Marketing & Analytics, and Program Management practices. Our talented team has delivered emotionally-rich and intuitive solutions for global brands and clients such as 7-Eleven, Capital One, Dell, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Neiman Marcus, Samsung Electronics, and The Container Store, among many others.