Trending
MOST READ
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

‘Walking the Camino’ Explores a Treacherous Trek Through Spain

Screens: In the Middle Ages, pilgrims walked the 500-mile El Camino de Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage to the tomb of Apostle St. James. It was an... By Stephen James Ross 10/22/2014
A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

A Closer Look: The ins and outs of a few important races

News: For more than a year now gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have dominated airwaves and secured way... By Mark Reagan 10/22/2014
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

College Guide 2013: Nearly every college student has lived off of ramen noodles at one point or another. What a lot of them didn’t know was that the classic just-add-water... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Cityscrapes: Why smart San Antonians keep moving to Austin

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Last week, a longtime University of Texas—San Antonio tech staffer stopped by my classroom to say goodbye. She announced that she was leaving UTSA for a better job with much better pay. In the tech sector. With a private employer. In Austin.

Her story is by no means unique. A number of tech folks have left recently for better jobs in Austin. It’s a situation that many local commentators and business leaders have long observed. But as we consider the kind of San Antonio we want to build over the next decade with new mayoral leadership, it’s vital that we think about where we stand in terms of high tech employment, and why we keep losing valued folks to Austin.

Let’s start with the “jobs” part. A December 2012 report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute compared metro areas in terms of high tech employment. Not surprisingly, the San Jose-Sunnyvale, Calif., metro—the home of Silicon Valley—ranked number one in high tech jobs as a percentage of the overall market, at 28.8 percent. The Cambridge, Mass., area came in at number four, with 20.3 percent, immediately followed by metro Seattle at 18.2. And Austin, the top Texas metro area, made the list at number 14, with 10.7 percent of its overall employment in high tech for a total of more than 67,000 jobs.

As for San Antonio, we placed number 56, with just 5 percent of our employment in high tech for 34,200 jobs—half of Austin’s total. We’re behind Dallas at number 20, and Houston ranked 45th. That employment picture puts us even with Detroit and Anchorage, and a bit ahead of Kansas City.

In August 1982, San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros unveiled his so-called Orange Book: “San Antonio’s Place in the Technology Environment: A Review of Opportunities and a Blueprint for Action.” There was indeed action. Cisneros and the Economic Development Foundation traveled widely to California and Asia in search of new employers and succeeded in bringing some to town. But most of those new high tech employers, such as chipmaker VLSI (later Phillips Semiconductor), didn’t stick. And even some homegrown firms, notably Datapoint, found they couldn’t manage the dramatic pace of innovation and change. The constant evolution of the tech sector also makes it risky to rely on a successful local firm like Rackspace as the lone vehicle for achieving future job growth and success. However valuable Rackspace may be to San Antonio today, examples of how quickly and dramatically the situation of individual firms can and will change can be see in Compaq in Houston and Dell in Austin.

The difference between Austin and us isn’t some grand geographical endowment, beaches or mountains. It’s not the climate or water supply or available land. Simply put, it’s the nature of our respective labor forces. In a globally competitive environment, the cities and metro areas that succeed are those with the best educated populations. That’s where San Antonio falls behind Austin, and a host of other areas.

Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas as of 2010, Washington, DC, leads the list with the highest proportion of its population holding college degrees at 46.8 percent. Next comes the San Jose metro and Silicon Valley with 45.3 percent. San Francisco ranks fourth, right behind the Connecticut suburban cities of Stamford and Greenwich, followed by Madison, Wis., and Boston. Austin places eighth at 39.4 percent, just above Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle. Dallas comes in at 35th, about on par with the Los Angeles metro area. And San Antonio? We rank number 80 of the 100, just below Greensboro, N.C., and just above Memphis.

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus