‘The Bay Area Is Broken’: Why Silicon Valley Startups Are Hiring Elsewhere

By Marisa Kendall
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Remote working is becoming increasingly viable as Silicon Valley shifts its focus from hardware, and the silicon chips that gave the region its name, to software and app development.

The Mercury News

Silicon Valley may be the world’s tech paradise, but it’s a hiring nightmare for many local startups now forced to venture from Portland to Boise in search of talent.

Enormous salary expectations, driven by the Bay Area’s soaring cost of living and competition from well-paying giants such as Google and Facebook, have made it too expensive for a growing number of local startups to recruit employees here. Others say the workers they do have want to leave, frustrated by their inability to buy a home as the region grapples with a chronic housing shortage.

Now local startups increasingly are opening satellite operations in cheaper markets, no longer expecting all their employees to congregate in one Silicon Valley office for work, free food and ping-pong.

It’s a cultural shift shaking up the startup eco-system that has long been credited with powering Silicon Valley’s iconic tech industry.

“As we’ve been looking to hire, we’re running into the same issue that everyone else is running into, in that the Bay Area is broken,” said Michael Dougherty, co-founder and CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based advertising tech startup Jelli.

Jelli, founded in 2009, opened a satellite office last June in Boise, Idaho, where Dougherty says average salaries are about a third lower than the Bay Area. The startup has 10 people in the office so far and plans to add another 30 or 40.

“The community’s cool,” Dougherty said. “There’s a lot of really great folks there.”

As with many startups that operate satellite offices outside Silicon Valley, Jelli’s 30 employees in San Mateo generally make more than their counterparts in Boise, Idaho. But the money goes farther in Boise.

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