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Employment Concentration by Metro: San Francisco

Employment Concentration by Metro: San Francisco

High wages, wage growth and demand for these types of jobs are extremely attractive to young professionals. As a result, these young professionals are coming by the dozens to San Francisco, which has helped drive the unemployment rate for the city down. As of March 2014, San Francisco’s unemployment rate of 4.2% was the lowest measured here since 2007.

So where have most of these jobs been going? It appears a big chunk is going to startups (which San Francisco is widely known for). A few of San Francisco’s most successful startups include:

  • Dropbox: A company headquartered in San Francisco that provides clients online information storage. Dropbox has expanded from 35 employees in 2011 to roughly 650 employees as of March 2014.
  • Pinterest: Headquartered in San Francisco, Pinterest is an online tool that helps users visually save ideas. Pinterest has over 500 employees.
  • Uber: A company which connects people who need rides to a driver via a phone app.
  • Quip: A company that provides a “suite” on your mobile phone that combines chatting, documentations, spreadsheets, checklists, and more making communication more efficient.
  • Twitter: A social media company that encourages users to share ideas (or “tweets”) that has increased employees from 800 to 1,500 since morning to the mid-market area in June 2012. Total, Twitter has 3,900 employees worldwide, 50% of which are developers.


But it’s not only startups that are generating jobs and inspiring growth:

  • Salesforce: From 2014 to 2015 Salesforce.com Inc. hired approximately 1,000 employees in San Francisco, as of January 1, 2015. Salesforce.com provides relationship management software to its customers. This company is expected to move into a 67-story building by 2017. The building is anticipated to being the tallest building on the West Coast once completed.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn has hired approximately 500 employees from January 1, 2014 to January 1, 2015. This social media outlet, which connects professionals to other professionals worldwide, recently signed a lease for a 26-story building in San Francisco just south of Market Street. The company should move into their new digs by 2016.
  • Bloomberg: Bloomberg is also opening a R&D office in San Francisco that will eventually house 100 software developers. Bloomberg R&D office will be near San Francisco’s tech corridor in the metro’s South of Market area on New Montgomery Street.
  • University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), School of Medicine: By 2035, UCSF’s School of Medicine, located in the Mission Bay district, is expected to grow by a whopping 30%. The school is multiplying its biotech firms and new additions will include hospitals, research labs, medical offices, and housing. Most currently, UCSF’s School of Medicine employs 2,197 full-time workers and 145 part-time workers and have a total of 664 MD students and 762 PhD/MS Students.

Runners Up

There are a few more metros that should be mentioned that have high exposure to the Professional/Scientific/Technical Services industry. These metros include:

  1. Washington, DC: Approximately 15.9% of the workforce here (or 404,000 individuals) are employed in the Professional/Scientific/Technical Services industry. In fact, one of the top employers in Washington, DC is in the technology sector: Booz Allen Hamilton, a technology consulting company, who employs roughly 14,000 individuals.  Moreover, Washington, DC’s technology hub has grown about 50% over the past 10 or so years, and is expected to double within the next five years. It’s home to over 1,000 technology start-ups.
  2. San Jose, CA: Approximately 14.0% of the workforce (or 145,800 individuals) are employed under the Professional/Scientific/Technical Services umbrella. Home to Silicon Valley, it’s a little surprising that San Jose lands as low as #3 on this list. In San Jose, high-tech companies comprise almost 12% of businesses – the largest concentration in America. In fact, for every 1,000 private sector jobs, San Jose has 182.5 high-tech jobs, which is 47% greater than any other market. San Jose is home to over 6,600 technology companies.
  3. San Diego, CA: About 9.9% (or 136,300 people) of the workforce are employed in the Professional/Scientific/Technical Services industry. San Diego is also recognized as a U.S. leader in high-technology. It’s economy is anchored by life science, clean tech and software industries. In fact, one of the top 10 largest employers in San Diego falls under the Professional/Scientific/Technology Services hub: Qualcomm Inc. This technology company employs around 9,450 people.
  4. Austin, TX: Around 9.3% of the workforce in Austin (or 86,600 people) work in the Professional/Scientific/Technology Services industry. The metro’s key industries include clean energy and power technology (Austin has over 200 existing clean energy firms that employ roughly 20,000 people), creative and digital media technology (Austin is home to festivals Austin City Limits and SXSW. This segment has over 40,000 employees), and life sciences (there are roughly 190 companies with nearly 11,000 employees that work in the life sciences industry).

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