Home to the Grand Canyon and nearly 145,000 miles of scenic roadways, Arizona is typically considered an outdoor lover’s paradise. In recent years, the U.S.’s sixth-largest state has garnered a reputation as a top contender in the modern technological revolution, and its state capital of Phoenix is leading the way.
The commanding vistas, favorable economy and varied amenities of Greater Phoenix have attracted myriad companies over the last decade, and the past few years have seen exponential growth within the city’s tech industry. Phoenix now shares the U.S. tech company red carpet spotlight with heavy hitters such as Silicon Valley and PLACE, and the trend looks to continue well into 2018 and beyond.
In 2015, Moody’s Analytics predicted a continual overall growth rate of just over 3 percent within Phoenix-based companies through 2019. Their estimate has proven accurate as of 2017, with the Valley clocking in at No. 3 among the hottest cities for tech jobs, according to Time magazine.
At the forefront of Phoenix’s burgeoning technology scene are multi-national corporations including Uber and Intel, as well as innovative startups, especially within the 3D printing and IoT industries.
The Major Players
Phoenix’s Warehouse District is the epicenter of the local tech industry, with Downtown Phoenix adding to the ranks as well, and a number of companies have moved into or expanded within the Valley in recent years.
Among companies moving to Phoenix is Northern Trust Bank, which announced its plan to increase the workforce at its Tempe call center, adding about 800 jobs. In 2016, Google chose Phoenix as the fourth U.S. locale for its driver-less vehicle testing.
For now, however, the top Phoenix employers remain in the retail and healthcare industries. The State of Arizona is the city’s largest, employing nearly 50,000 people. Runners-up include:
- Banner Health
- Wells Fargo
Phoenix has climbed the ranks among U.S. tech giants in recent years, boasting year-over-year tech job growth of 188 percent. This puts the Valley among the top 20 U.S. cities for technology jobs, with data analysts, software engineers and developers, and project manager positions clocking in as the top contenders.
A 2017 report from CompTIA Cyberstates concluded that 2545 technology jobs were added in 2016, bringing the state-wide total to more than 139,000 technology jobs.
The CompTIA report also found that the average wage for tech workers across the state was $97,400. The number is nearly double that of the average median wage in the metro area.
The tech industry boom in the Valley parallels the area’s overall population growth: In 2010, 4.19 million people called Greater Phoenix home, according to U.S. census data. Six years later, the metro population had expanded to over 4.5 million.
Entrepreneurs, major corporations and forward-thinking investors alike are attracted to Phoenix in part because of the city’s high median starting pay, but also because of the amenities the Valley has to offer. The metro area includes several notable cities that boast a reasonable cost of living, low crime rates and strong local economies, including Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe, which is home to Arizona State University. In 2016, ASU topped the list of the country’s Most Innovative Schools in a U.S. News & World Report survey.
Tech industry startups found another reason to expand to Phoenix in July 2017 with the implementation of House Bill 2191.
Known as the Angel Investor Tax Credit program, early-stage startup companies have access to $10 million in capital through 2021. As an incentive, investors in Arizona startups are eligible to claim a tax credit of up to 35 percent.
In part due to HB 2191, more than $122 million was invested in Arizona-based companies during the first half of 2017, and the trend is expected to continue. The future of Phoenix’s tech industry looks to be as bright as the Valley sun.
Innovation is Born in Arizona
An alumni of Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, entrepreneur Jason Hope is a commanding presence within the growing technology scene of his home state. A investor and philanthropist in his own right, Hope is dedicated to giving back. In December 2010, he donated $500,000 to the California-based SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Research Foundation.
A lifelong Valley resident, Jason Hope grew up in Tempe and now calls Scottsdale home. With a keen eye for spotting technological innovation among the plethora of startups in Arizona and the surrounding region, Hope supports ideas that challenge the mainstream and break down walls.