Madison ranks 5th for tech workers looking to relocate

The pandemic drastically changed the way people perceive their needs in terms of proximity to the workplace.
Feature Madison Tech Jobs Hub Panel

Last year, many office workers had to adjust to the reality of remote work on a previously unprecedented scale. Now, as many employees return to the office, some are considering the long-term implications of a remote or hybrid model. And, while news of the demise of Silicon Valley, New York, and other major tech hubs has been greatly exaggerated, the pandemic has nudged workers who had previously considered moving to smaller urban areas into action.

However, decisions about relocation are always difficult, as many tech workers will still want to be close to a regional office and be part of an active local tech scene, even as they enjoy life at a slower pace. So, as pros and cons are weighed, it’s becoming apparent that some cities and metropolitan areas are better positioned — or, more intentional with their incentives — to attract tech workers.

A recent CommercialCafe study ranked the 15 most exciting mid-sized metros for tech workers to relocate to, based on six metrics that include tech job and business density, average salaries in the industry, and each entry’s performance on the life quality index, among other criteria.

Metro Madison came in fifth among the top 15 mid-sized metros for tech workers looking to relocate, with a total score of 59.52 out of 100 points. Madison also ranked:

  • 1st for the highest percentage of population covered by health insurance — 72%;
  • 2nd for its life quality index — 19.01 out of 25 points; and
  • 3rd for its leisure establishments density — 88.0 per 100,000 residents.

Madison Tech Worker Hub 1Using data gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following study focused on U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of less than 1 million residents and scored them across six indicators, including:

  • Life quality (such as regional price parity, educational attainment, and unemployment rate) — 25 points;
  • Tech job density — 30 points;
  • Average tech salary — 15 points;
  • Tech business density — 15 points;
  • Percentage of the total population covered by employer-based health insurance — 5 points; and
  • Number of leisure establishments per 100,000 residents — 10 points.

Madison Tech Worker Hub 2Boulder, Colorado garnered the highest score overall, landing in the first position for its number of tech establishments per 100,000 residents. It also made the podium across three other metrics, totaling 79.12 points.

Tech workers in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut area enjoyed the highest average salary among the 15 entries, at $106,591 per year. The 943,332-strong metropolitan area also had a good concentration of leisure establishments and ranked 12th for tech density.

Midwestern tandems dominated a couple of indicators: the Madison and Ann Arbor, Michigan duo occupied first and second place for the highest percentage of population covered by health insurance, while the life quality index was topped by Bloomington, Illinois, and Madison.

On the East Coast, the California-Lexington Park, Maryland area took the lead in the tech job density rankings, while the Portland-South Portland, Maine metro received the highest score for its share of leisure establishments.

The Madison metro area gathered 59.52 points, earning the top spot for its total percentage of workers with health coverage.

Every 62 out of 1,000 jobs in Madison fell within the tech category, making it the sixth-best-performing metro area for this indicator, where it received 17.38 out of 30 points. Plus, the mean wage for those working in the tech industry was around $83,296 per year — 50% higher than the metro-wide average salary.

Yet, despite the presence of big names such as Google, Microsoft, and Zendesk, Madison received only 4.91 out of 15 points for the number of tech firms per 100,000 residents. Nevertheless, the metro is serious about nurturing its potential as a tech hub. In fact, in 2018, it was ranked as one of the top 10 cities for millennial entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, coming in fifth in terms of educational attainment level — with 48.61% of residents with bachelor’s degrees or higher — Madison offers an enticing talent pool. Its 2.08% unemployment rate was also the lowest among the top 15 metro areas. Overall, Madison collected 19.01 out of 25 points for its life quality index.

The study looked at U.S. metropolitan areas with a population of less than 1 million, according to the 2019 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Points for all indicators were distributed directly proportional to their value. Entries could gather a maximum of 100 points.

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