What is the Secret Sauce of Austin’s Tech Hub?

There has been a whirlwind of media coverage lately surrounding our laid-back, innovative, capital city — Austin. Being cited as one of America’s Coolest Cities, an Innovative City, and Best City for Finding Employment, Austin is the capital of cool. Major corporations such as IBM, Dell, 3M, AMD, Cisco, and recently Amazon, GM and Facebook are employers in the city, but Austin’s culture also encourages entrepreneurs to show off their creative talents that can potentially lead to industry game-changers. The start-up hub in Austin continues to grow exponentially.

I recently spoke with our recruiters at SailPoint and got their insights into the key reasons why Austin is considered a major tech hub, and why there will never be a shortage of top talent here to choose from.

Q: Why are technology companies more effective at attracting and retaining talent?

A: Simply put, there is a talent war going on right now and companies that are looking to hire “the best of the best” have a lot of competition. Most tech companies (especially start-ups) in Austin, offer culture and benefits that you don’t see in other types of businesses. It’s pretty standard these days for the companies in the start-up scene to offer things like unlimited vacation policy, equity, flexible schedules, free snacks and drinks, game rooms, casual dress, fitness onsite, etc. In order to hire and retain great people, a “fun” work environment is pretty much a must.-AL

A: Competition for talent among companies is fierce. Tech companies make it a point to deliver on the top influencing factors beyond just the paycheck, such as creative and challenging work environments, and the opportunity to make an impact – especially in smaller start-up environments. -AK

Q: What makes Austin a unique “tech hub” in your opinion?

A: For starters, we host the annual SXSW festival, which definitely enriches the Austin tech community. Showcasing top emerging technologies and attracting techies and entrepreneurs from around the world, SXSW fosters networking and tech growth, and puts Austin on the map as one of the top tech towns in the US. -AK

A: I think Austin offers people the opportunity to work in any type of tech environment – big (Dell, HP, Google) or smaller (many start-ups and mid-sized companies including SailPoint). For someone fresh out of school who doesn’t have much experience, but is smart and dedicated to growing his or her career, working for a smaller company provides a ton of opportunity to wear many hats, try and learn a lot of new technologies and have their work recognized. -AL

Q: Austin has been cited as a Coolest City and Best City for Finding Employment among other titles, do you think this trend will continue?

A: I do. Almost every week I hear about a new company that is expanding into the Austin area. Well-known global companies like Amazon, GM and Facebook are now here. I talk to people everyday that are dying to move to Austin from all around the world. Austin as a city just has so much to offer, no matter what you like to do it attracts all types of people. Everything from the music scene, outdoor activities, great weather (if you like it hot!) a robust job market, affordable housing to the culture – Austin offers all of it. I recently read an article that said 158 people move to Austin each day. That’s crazy and I just don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.- AL

Q: Is culture helpful in attracting talent? What’s the best way to keep employees motivated and engaged once they’re on board?

A: Yes, culture is a MUST in Austin for attracting new talent. There is so much competition right now that culture is absolutely a huge factor when people are deciding between multiple job offers. As for keeping people engaged – opportunity for growth, equity, a solid product, cutting edge technologies and work life balance are all up there. -AL


*Andrea Lytton is the Talent Acquisition Manager at SailPoint. She has been working in high tech recruiting in Austin for 9 years. Prior to joining SailPoint, Andrea was the Sr. Recruiter at Bazaarvoice, T3 and TekSystems.

*Audrey Krupa is the Talent Acquisition Manager at SailPoint. With 9 years of recruiting experience in the technology space, Audrey gained a solid foundation in talent acquisition by working for one of the top Global Executive Search firms, Korn-Ferry International in Chicago, prior to starting at SailPoint.