Salt Lake City Among Tech’s New STEM Hotbeds
For a number of years, Silicon Valley dominated as the nation’s ultimate tech hub. But other localities are coming into their own as tech ecosystems, complete with their own educational pipelines and startup communities. Where are these “next generation” tech towns found? According to data from Wallethub, Salt Lake City ranks seventh among the best U.S. cities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) jobs, beating out Chicago, New York City, San Jose, and other prominent "tech forward" towns. It ranked ninth for professional opportunities and fourteenth for ‘STEM friendliness,’ also placing it ahead of many major cities that have made sizable investments in their technology ecosystems in recent years. Wallethub relied on 17 factors in its calculations, including number of job openings for STEM graduates, the city’s offered quality of life, annual median wage for STEM workers, and housing affordability. (Considering how housing costs are a key factor in quality of life, it’s not surprising that Salt Lake City did well; the city boasts housing prices and rents far below those in other tech hubs, as well as a focus on true work-life balance.) That’s not the only data point suggesting that Salt Lake City offers opportunity for STEM graduates: a mix of data from Praxis Strategy Group and EMSI’s Q4 2017 dataset (and neatly summarized by Joel Kotkin on Forbes) suggests STEM jobs in Salt Lake City have grown by 5 percent over the past two years, equal with Seattle. While it seems unlikely that Salt Lake City will overcome Silicon Valley as the nation’s most prominent tech hub (at least in the near-term), the data nonetheless suggests that Utah is a solid place for STEM graduates looking for jobs, whether with up-and-coming startups or well-established firms (the area has both). Plus, the city has made a concerted effort to draw in younger, technologically skilled workers.