Posted on 2/24/2016

Southeast Michigan: The best place to grow your tech career

A Yelp customer support employee is making headlines this week for claiming she was fired from the multi-billion-dollar tech company after she blogged about the financial pressures of earning a living wage in one of the country’s most expensive cities: San Francisco. 

Yelp said in a statement Monday that while it doesn’t comment on personnel matters, it agreed that because of the high costs of living in San Francisco, the company was expanding its customer support operations to Phoenix. 

This situation has shined a national spotlight on the cost of living disparity across America’s major technology hubs, and it highlights the hardships faced by many employees who are struggling to make ends meet while working and living in the country’s most expensive cities. 

Fortunately, there is one major U.S. city where the technology industry is thriving, and its employees can enjoy a high standard of living due to low housing costs: Detroit.

According to Automation Alley’s 2016 Technology Industry Report, released this week, Southeast Michigan is not only on par with Silicon Valley as a tech hub, but is the place to start your technology career or grow your tech business. 

According to our report, in 2016, more Southeast Michigan tech executives expect to make new hires, increase company revenue and invest in R&D than their Silicon Valley counterparts — not to mention that a paycheck in Detroit goes much farther than a paycheck in California. 

In fact, our report shows that Southeast Michigan trumps Silicon Valley when it comes to cost of living. The median gross rent in the Southeast Michigan region is $855, below the national average, according to the latest available data. Fewer than 35 percent of renters in Southeast Michigan pay $1,000 or more in gross rent, while Silicon Valley’s median gross rent is $1,629. Also, Southeast Michigan has the most affordable housing compared to the other tech hubs analyzed in our study, with a median housing value of $127,904. By comparison, the median housing value in San Jose in is $654,800. 

These results make a statement that this region competes favorably with the best and brightest in America. 

To our members and economic development partners: We encourage you to share this report. Use it as a tool to attract talent and investment to our region and to increase awareness of all we have to offer here in Southeast Michigan. 

To those outside of this region: Be certain, Southeast Michigan is a place where you can work and live well. It’s time to erase those outdated perceptions you have of Southeast Michigan as a “Rust Belt” town. This is a place where technology companies are expanding rapidly and developing innovative, industry-disrupting technologies that are changing the world.

About the Author

Automation Alley Staff | Automation Alley


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