Rural Texas communities can benefit from the reality that the United States is about to see a glut of highly qualified tech workers seeking employment. According to Crunchbase News, during January alone more than 66,000 workers had been laid off. February has not started off any better with Zoom announcing the layoffs of 1,300 of their workers. In Austin, Dell announced a layoff of 6,500 employees. When combined with the more than 140,000 workers laid off in 2022, you have over 200,000 people now seeking employment.
Generally these types of numbers would portend troubled times ahead for tech workers and communities. However, that might not be the complete truth. In fact, Texas, especially rural Texas communities, can benefit from the recent layoffs of tech workers.
The reality is that yes, those companies who expanded haphazardly during the pandemic are now feeling the consequences of their poor planning. There are also companies that do have open positions and are struggling to fill them. The online career marketplace, Dice estimates that there are approximately 375.000 tech jobs open. People who understand Python, Rust, and cloud computing are in high demand.
The ‘glamor’ companies known as the FAANG group, i.e. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google most likely won’t have the highest concentration of talent. The more traditional blue-chip companies who have been delaying upgrading their technological infrastructure may feel like they can now compete for talent. This is true for industries such as hospitality, health care, government, and construction.
One area that the more conservative companies must be prepared to deal with is non-location specific workers. Will they embrace the reality that tech workers can do their jobs from anywhere? Will they still insist that the cubicle-based office environment is still the best. There are those types of jobs where collaboration and face-to-face interaction can be of benefit. There are also, especially in the tech sector, where being able to sit at a keyboard whenever or wherever is the most efficient way to bring a product to life.
In Texas, if the leaders of rural communities have the foresight to insure that their residents have access to broadband; then this new worker reality could prove to be almost a lifesaver. There are many young families who will gladly take advantage of less congested, safer environments. People move away because they cannot earn a living, if they can, then it is possible to reverse the rural to urban migration flow.