Recruiter’s View — Why tech talent comes to Utah

To an outsider there are many aspects of Utah that make it undesirable. It’s cold seven months of the year, there aren’t that many people out here, it’s in the middle of a desert and to an outsider all they see is a pin on a map in the middle of “nowhere.”

If those outsiders moved out of their comfort zone and took one trip out to Utah I would bet a pretty penny they would discover something very special.

Utah is a whole new world. We have all of the conveniences of a big city with none of the inconveniences. We have one of the most efficient international airports in the country with the most on-time flights. We have the best outdoor recreation in the world and a booming economic climate that is difficult to match anywhere else.

If you look away from Silicon Valley or Silicon Beach and squint your eyes you may just catch the glimmer of light that is Silicon Slopes. Silicon Valley may be considered the “big brother” to Silicon Slopes, but the secret is out; “little brother” is growing and catching up.

Here are the top five reasons why rock star technology talent is moving to Utah:

  1. **Tech Opportunities Abound: **Forbes Magazine ranked Utah as the “Best State For Business And Careers” three years in a row. Utah is a rapidly growing start-up technology hub. Last time I checked there were 200 plus companies in the state who had a heavily invested interest in growing the states’ technology sector. We have hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from investors all over the country. Companies such as Adobe, Ebay.com, Goldman Sachs and Overstock.com have all started to take notice.
  2. **Cost of Living: **The cost of living in Utah is outstanding; your hard-earned dollar goes so much further here. Compared to Los Angeles, housing is 52% less, utility payments are 31% less and a trip to the grocery store will cost you 12% less. That means more money to do the things you love. Whether that’s investing in an idea, buying a home, or simply securing your financial freedom.
  3. **Breaking Stereotypes: **If you think Utah doesn’t know beer, think again. Utah has a number of popular brew pubs which brew beers that garner national attention. Local brew pubs have won gold medals at competitions such as the World Beer Cup, the Great American Beer Festival and the National Wood and Barrel Aged Festival. Whatever your preferred libation, you’ll have no problems finding it here.
  4. **No Traffic: **I’m a Los Angeles native and I can tell you that waking up at 6 a.m. only to get into your car and sit in traffic for two unproductive hours is the worst way to start your day. Mankind was not designed to live this way. In Utah, traffic is nonexistent. Try a morning mountain-side trail run, or a bike ride to the office (Utah is very bicycle friendly). On a daily basis you can devote your unused stress credits to solving those world-changing technical challenges you’ve been facing or getting your startup off the ground. The world is much brighter when you’re not staring at a line of bumpers.
  5. **A World-Class Backyard: **We cannot say it enough in this state. Outdoor recreation, outdoor recreation, outdoor recreation. The entire world comes to play in our backyard. Most have heard about the world-class skiing but what about the red rocks down south that offer world-class mountain biking? Or the world-class rock climbing twenty minutes out your back door in Little Cottonwood Canyon? Or the world-class river rafting? Hiking? Fishing? Nowhere else in the country can you find a backyard like ours.

The best plans are the ones that go according to plan. As one of the best managed states in the nation, Utah is working to fulfill its plan for economic growth every day. Outsiders are starting to take notice of this little glimmer they can see from over the hills in Silicon Valley.

Utah has so much to offer and to discover. As a recent transplant to Utah I am beginning to think the secret of the utopia of Utah is out.

Michelle Kuo* is the Founder of JumpSearch Recruiting. She is based in Los Angeles and has an office in Utah. JSR has successfully recruited and placed technical candidates at start-ups, high-growth and Fortune 500 companies.*

Related articles