09/21/2017 Meg Slindee

Cities: Courting Amazon? Show them the numbers!

After Amazon invited bids for a second headquarters location, city leaders across the country started brainstorming ways to attract the e-commerce giant. Amazon’s promise of employing 50,000 workers and investing $5 billion in construction would be a dream for many metropolitan areas. With a deadline of Oct. 19, cities are scrambling to create noteworthy proposals.

It’s not uncommon for cities and states to compete to host major corporations and new factories, but this opportunity stands out for the jobs, economic benefit, and prestige it will bring to its second home.

What do cities need to get noticed? Tax breaks and infrastructure investments are likely inclusions for most headquarters hopefuls. In this courtship, Amazon requires suitors to meet some basic standards in order to be considered with any seriousness. Must-haves include:

  • – A metropolitan area with more than 1 million people
  • – An international airport
  • – A stable, strong, business-friendly environment
  • – Urban or suburban locations that will attract and retain strong technical talent

It’s this last point that really got the crew at LinkUp thinking. While no one is sure just how many of the anticipated 50,000 jobs would be technical, it’s likely to be a considerable amount. Amazon wants a location from which they can pull strong existing tech talent, and one that will attract tech talent from across the country to consider relocation.

So we dug into the data. LinkUp archives an array of accurate job data that can lend insights into critical business decisions. Looking at technology job openings by city, we can draw some valuable assumptions about the various talent and job markets under speculation.

Tech jobs by city

Our analytics team started by looking into locations with a large number of open tech jobs. This is a good indicator of a city’s focus on tech talent, which means growing opportunity for Amazon recruitment. We also compared East Coast and West Coast jobs, as coastal areas are often known for a vibrant technical job marketplace.

 

This map shows the current number and growth of tech job openings in the 35 U.S. cities that have more than 1,000,000 people in their civilian labor force. The size of the circle indicates how many tech jobs are open and the color indicates if that number has increased or decreased in the past six months.  Interestingly, we found more tech openings in Washington, D.C. than in Seattle right now.

Tech jobs by duration

Next, we looked at technical jobs over time. This scatter plot shows percent change in tech jobs on the X-axis and job duration (in number of days) on the Y-axis. The size of the circle indicates the current number of tech job openings, while its color corresponds to the percent change on the X-axis.

What does this tell us? Typical technology cities like San Francisco and Seattle are taking longer than other cities to fill their tech job openings. Other cities such as Dallas, Philadelphia and Baltimore are growing in number of tech jobs open and are filling those positions more quickly than other cities. As Amazon looks for massive hiring potential at their new location, these numbers are important.

Cities that use data points like these in their bids could certainly skew Amazon’s decision. With the must-haves met, the city with the most creative, promising, and generous package of “extras” will succeed in courting Amazon to the altar. It will be interesting to see which cities get a date, and which one will ultimately hear “I do.”

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