What happens when big tech moves into a small town? We explore the effects of this growing trend and what it means for the future of these communities.
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When big tech moves in, it can be a big boost to the local economy. These companies bring in high-paying jobs and often invest in the community. They can also help to spur other businesses to move in and set up shop. This can lead to a more vibrant and diverse economy.
The promise of more jobs is often the biggest argument for welcoming tech companies into towns. And it’s true that when a company like Amazon opens a new fulfillment center, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of job openings. But many of these jobs are low-paying and offer few benefits. And they don’t always go to the people who need them most.
The most obvious pro of having big tech companies move into a town is the influx of cash. big tech companies bring with them high-paying jobs, and as more people move into the area to take advantage of those jobs, the local economy gets a boost. This can lead to more money being circulated throughout the town, and an overall increase in the standard of living. Additionally, big tech companies often have direct investments in the community, such as building new housing or funding local initiatives.
When big tech moves in, more people tend to follow. The presence of major employers can act as an anchor that attracts other businesses and residents to an area. This has a ripple effect on the local economy, stimulating growth and generating jobs in a range of sectors.
More people also means more diversity and a more vibrant cultural scene. This can make an area more attractive to younger workers and families, which in turn can lead to even more investment and growth.
An influx of highly-paid workers can lead to rapidly rising rents and home prices, making it difficult for long-time residents to remain. This can lead to social tensions as newcomers displace established residents, and can eventually result in the gentrification of a neighborhood. As businesses catering to the needs of the new population move in, mom-and-pop shops that have served the community for generations may be pushed out.
Higher cost of living
Though Big Tech companies often provide higher wages than the median wage in a given area, they also drive up the cost of living. A study by Governing magazine found that, “from 2000 to 2016, median rent in San Francisco increased by nearly 60 percent, while it grew by 24 percent nationwide…In some cases, the companies are driving up real estate values so rapidly that longtime residents are being priced out of their homes.”
An increase in traffic is one of the most common complaints from residents of towns and cities that have seen an influx of tech workers. The problem is twofold: first, more people means more cars on the roads, and second, many tech workers commute from further away, which means they are more likely to use clogged highways to get into town.
Less community feel
Big tech companies often have a negative impact on the communities they move into. One of the biggest complaints is that these companies often create a feeling of division between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Employees of big tech companies are often given perks that other residents of the community can’t access, such as private transportation, private gyms, and private dining facilities. This can create a sense of resentment among those who don’t work for the company and feel like they are being left out.
In addition, big tech companies often don’t invest in the local community the way other businesses do. They may not use local suppliers or hire local contractors, and they may not give back to local charities or support local events. This can make it difficult for small businesses to compete and can make it hard for communities to thrive.