Utah’s Tech industry, coined as the Silicon Slopes, is a hub for growing tech companies. A Gartner report found that in 2017, Utah's tech companies gave way to over 302,000 jobs in the state while cashing out 20 billion in wages and producing almost 30 billion in contributions to Utah's gross domestic product.
One in seven jobs belong to the state's expanding technology sector as tech monsters like Vivint, Qualtrics and Domo lead the way. On average, those in the state’s tech industry average salaries of $77,200 annually versus $50,600 in other industries.
Were the tech gods involved in creating a mystical, magnetic pull to lure talent and businesses to Utah? The state has not only been able to keep volumes of home-grown talent through graduate-focused legislation, but it has been able to bring talent into the melting pot. The magnetic force seems to be the rich lifestyle opportunities that state provides. The prominent Mormon culture boasts an almost anti-Silicon Valley approach. People are gradually migrating to the city for its tech businesses and small-town feel, but there is also a wealth of talent already within the border.
“As people who were recruited came here, they recruited their friends, and they’ve recruited their friends,” said Mike Maughan, a leader of Qualtrics’ global insights team. “It’s become this easy hub where once people are moving out here, they say, ‘Oh I heard there’s a really strong crew of Michigan alum there,’ in addition to Qualtrics being a great company,” Maughan said.
He added later that, “If we hired every engineer every year that all of the universities in the state put out, which we’re obviously not going to do, that still wouldn’t be enough. And we’re just one company.”
Tech firms based in the Silicon Slopes are clearly forced to source tech talent outside of the state, but the allure of Utah’s companies start with “their entrepreneurial spirit, innovative business tactics, and skyrocketing revenue growth.” The added attractions of safe communities, recreational opportunities, and cost of living become the icing on the cake.
With the record low unemployment rate unwavering at 3.6 percent, the opportunity for employment right out of college is more abundant now than it has been in quite some time. The Silicon Slopes has made the technology industry its bread and butter and although by size alone, it won’t rival Silicon Valley, they are surely making their case as a juggernaut in the industry.