Microsoft is growing in Texas. With plans for a $31 million capital expansion to its 32-acre Irving-based technology center, the software giant will need to hire an additional 575 employees to help support its evolving operations.
The need to find hundreds of additional employees will create a new ripple in the already shallow labor pool, and local technology firms must prepare for increased competition in the talent market.
North Texas: Tech Hub
The North Texas metro, which includes Dallas, Plano and Irving, is currently the fourth largest in the nation, and roughly six percent of the area’s employment is in the technology sector. As of September 2019, the metro’s unemployment rate sits at 3.1 percent, which is slightly lower than the state’s unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.
North Texas is already a popular tech destination, and the competition for tech talent will increase. That could fuel a labor demand that is likely to outpace supply.
North Texas is a Hot Labor Market
Since 2012, more than 75 companies have relocated to North Texas. Irving is home to seven Fortune 500 companies; Dallas is home to 22; Plano houses six Fortune 1000 organizations. That’s a testament to the area’s business-friendly climate.
According to 2019 Scoring Tech Talent in North Texas, an annual ranking report by commercial real estate firm CBRE, Dallas-Fort Worth:
- Ranked 5th in the nation for its tech talent labor pool.
- Ranked 13th in the nation in tech wages.
- Has seen 16.5 percent growth in tech talent supply since 2013.
In addition to being a strong tech hub, companies in North Texas benefit from:
- No corporate or personal income tax
- Lower cost of living
- Strong incentive packages
Microsoft, for example, will be the recipient of one incentive package – a $4.87 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant for its new expansion.
As North Texas continues to attract technology firms, the demand for talent will grow. Companies that have roles similar to those in demand for Microsoft’s expansion may need to start reviewing compensation and benefits packages. Efforts to retain top employees should be a strategic focus for companies as global brands moving to the area will likely poach talent from competitors.