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Austin's tech salaries soar in 2021, but remote workers are the real winners

Austin's tech workers enjoy average salaries near those in California despite a vastly different cost of living.

Austin tech workers' salaries average near those in California despite vastly different costs of living, according to a new report by Hired.

The report sought to interpret data on tech employees across the United States and United Kingdom, analyzing tech salaries, hiring processes and remote workers' data amid the Great Resignation. According to the report, Austin's average tech worker salary is $144,000—the same as San Diego and just $21,000 behind historic tech hub San Francisco, which topped the list.

Austin's average tech worker salary is the same as San Diego and near other Californian cities despite vastly different costs of living. (Hired)

Austin's tech salaries shot up 5% when compared to 2020, while traditional markets including the Bay Area and New York decreased slightly. At the same time, Austin homes are 60% less expensive and almost 550 square feet larger than average homes in the Bay Area's Santa Clara County, according to a Storage Cafe study.

And so with the Great Resignation—a time in which people quit their jobs for new opportunities when faced with the reality of the pandemic—came a Great Migration. Workers could complete work remotely from anywhere—saving money outside the Bay Area.

Adding fuel to the fire is increasing remote work salaries—average pay for remote workers soared to $144,000 in 2021, while average tech salaries in Tier 3 markets (including Austin) rose to $135,000. Tier one markets, including London, New York and the Bay Area, came in last with an average of $133,000.

Average remote workers' salaries topped average tech companies in all three markets in 2021. (Hired)

Burned-out tech workers are increasingly placing importance on a work-life balance when getting a job, and a good work schedule was by far the most compelling company benefit aside from compensation in the Hired study.

One-third of workers surveyed said they aren't willing to give that up. Over 50% of those surveyed said they would prefer remote work with optional office time, while 14% opted for a hybrid model. Just 1% said they would prefer moving back in office full-time

With the ability to live anywhere, many are opting out of the nation's pricier locales for a more laid-back lifestyle. When adjusting for cost of living, remote workers making $165,000 in San Francisco could make an equivalent of $234,000 in Austin, an offer many wouldn't trade up.

When balanced by cost of living, Austin workers making $234k make the equivalent of $165k in the Bay Area. (Hired)

But that shift has begun a ripple effect for cities including Austin—a Zillow report found that the Texas capital could become the most expensive city outside of California by the end of 2021.

Austin will need to quickly adapt to its influx of tech talent and other out-of-towners while continuing to promote the lifestyle that brought newcomers in the first place. But for now, the Texas capital is quickly drawing in top talent as it reaches "boomtown" tech hub status.

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