In a recent report published by the Brookings Institution, Indianapolis has emerged among a handful of metro areas with “statistically meaningful” growth in tech jobs. Comparing the shares of digital services employment held by 100 U.S. Metropolitan areas in 2010 and 2015, the Brookings study concluded that while most of this growth continues in the Bay Area, 14 other metro areas nationwide have seen hiring growth in that sector. Indianapolis’s, specifically, grew from about 12,660 tech jobs in 2010 to 21,830 in 2015, to claim about 0.8% of the national total.
Ontario Systems counts itself among Indy’s tech community – And we wear our pride on our sleeves. So we’re obviously excited to see these kind of numbers! But why the upswing? How did we get here? And how are we going to continue the awesome trajectory we see ahead? Here are the big four reasons why Indianapolis is emerging as a high-growth destination for tech:
- Saturation on the West Coast
Tech’s traditional home in the U.S. is landlocked, and flush with companies in the vertical. That translates into higher cost of living and competition for talent: Salaries are inflated, real estate and transportation is expensive and the competition is demanding. In other words, what was once attractive is now a retention obstacle. The Midwest is no longer considered agriculture- and manufacturing-exclusive, and it’s cheaper here to live and raise a family. Pharmaceuticals isn’t the only other career option in Indianapolis anymore, and technology talent is starting to notice their potential to be big fish in a small pond.
- Economics and education in Indiana outpaces other States
Indianapolis’s home State enjoys many of the region’s top technology and business schools, including Rose Hulman, Purdue, Notre Dame, Indiana, Butler and Ball State, along with a number of established regional campuses. Central Indiana boasts some of the highest graduation rates and K12 education counties in the State, alongside a community-centric approach to building and advancing STEM education. Tax incentives here have made it attractive for companies interested in relocating or investing. That’s meant new startups have found a place in the region, and have found reasons to stay and grow.
- It’s a sports, recreation and convention town
Indianapolis is known as a Midwest sports market, counting the Colts, Pacers, Indy 500, and a looming presence in college football and basketball among its many attractions. Its downtown and cultural districts continue to grow, and have designated the city a growing Midwest conference destination. The attractions media exposure gained as a result has attracted travelers, especially with easy connections to other important areas like Chicago and Detroit – Bolstered by an airport that’s been named one of the best in the country. That’s attractive to those interested in an urban environment with world-class entertainment and culture.
- Community spirit and strategy
Indiana’s growth, and Indianapolis’s specifically, haven’t been left to chance – They’ve been planned for more than a decade. The city in particular has focused its strategy on growth, not only in agriculture and manufacturing but healthcare, medical device and, yes, technology. The tech business community in particular has worked together with city leaders to attract new companies, talent and venture capital interest. That focus has started to pay off.
So don’t be surprised when you hear about Indiana as a choice destination for new college grads, and new families moving away from the West Coast. There are a lot of advantages to be had here – And employment numbers are starting to bear that out, meaning Central Indiana is no longer the best kept secret in the Midwest.
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