In an era where college graduates are being priced out of coastal cities, the rise of remote and hybrid work has opened up new opportunities for professionals to work from anywhere. As a result, many workers are seeking out cities that offer a balance between affordable living and quality career prospects.
Our very own St. Louis is emerging as a great city for tech jobs, and is attracting talent amidst the changing dynamics of the industry.
According to a New York Times analysis, tech employment has historically been concentrated in a few coastal "superstar" metros, leaving many regions behind. However, a trend is emerging where midsized metros away from the coasts, known as "rising stars," are experiencing significant growth in tech jobs. St. Louis is among these rising stars, along with Kansas City and a handful of other cities.
The tech sector in St. Louis is on the rise, with Missouri expected to see a 2.9 percent growth in technology jobs, surpassing the U.S. average of 2.1 percent. From 2018 to 2023, Missouri's technology workforce is projected to grow by 9.5 percent, ranking it ninth among U.S. states. St. Louis, in particular, has made impressive strides in adding jobs in fast-growing technology sectors.
St. Louis's burgeoning tech ecosystem is further bolstered by prominent initiatives and developments that have contributed to its growth. Cortex, a 200-acre innovation hub located in the heart of the city, has emerged as a thriving center for technology and entrepreneurship. Home to over 400 companies and institutions, including tech startups, research organizations, and major corporations, Cortex provides a collaborative environment that fosters innovation and supports the growth of the tech community.
Another significant player in the St. Louis tech scene is TREX, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing technology-based economic development. TREX offers a range of services and resources, including incubator programs, mentorship opportunities, and access to a vibrant network of entrepreneurs and investors. Through its initiatives, TREX plays a pivotal role in nurturing startups and driving innovation in the region.
Tech STL, a collective of organizations and individuals working together to promote and enhance the St. Louis tech ecosystem, also plays a vital role in fostering collaboration and creating opportunities for tech professionals. By organizing events, meetups, and workshops, Tech STL facilitates knowledge sharing, networking, and skill development, thereby contributing to the overall growth of the tech community.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) development in St. Louis represents a significant milestone in the city's tech landscape. The NGA is constructing a new state-of-the-art campus, which will serve as a global hub for geospatial intelligence and provide cutting-edge technology and resources. This development not only brings high-quality jobs to the region but also enhances St. Louis's reputation as a leading center for geospatial research and innovation.
Another notable development in St. Louis is the Taylor Geospatial research institute. This institute will employ over 3,100 mostly civilian employees who will utilize cutting-edge technology to analyze data in real-time, including satellite, radar, and infrared images. Such advancements highlight the city's commitment to technological innovation.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought disruptions to workplaces across the country and accelerated the adoption of remote work. While it hasn't caused a massive shift of tech jobs to the heartland, it has provided opportunities for cities like St. Louis to attract tech talent. In 2020, St. Louis experienced faster growth (4.8%) in tech employment compared to the previous five years (3.9%).
While it may be premature to compare St. Louis to Silicon Valley, there are positive signs for the city's tech ecosystem. National data on tech job postings and new tech firms suggest a possible decentralization of tech activity from superstar metros. St. Louis has seen an increase in its share of new tech firms nationally, indicating an uptick in entrepreneurial activity.
Centrally located with beautiful historic housing stock and a plethora of cultural events, St. Louis makes a compelling case as a city for tech professionals seeking affordable living coupled with promising career opportunities. Its inclusion as a rising star among midsized metros demonstrates its potential for growth and development.
As federal spending trends and private-sector investments continue to shape the industry, cities like St. Louis have the opportunity to influence the trajectory of the tech sector. With its expanding tech workforce and initiatives to foster innovation, St. Louis is positioning itself as a city to watch for tech enthusiasts and job seekers alike.
Here at Integrity, we are proud to be part of the STL Tech community, and are always looking to grow our team! Contact us today to learn more about web development, technology consulting for business, tech trends in STL and job opportunities.
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