Posted by: BayAreaComRE | July 19, 2010

Where Are All the Engineers???

Last week we posed a question to the real estate and greater tech community about a concept we’ve been hearing for years now. As a real estate advisor, it’s important to know where the highest concentration and pools of talent are because consulting a company on the optimal location decision has a lot to do with where best potential employees are. For over a decade the mantra went that, “all the engineers are in the South Bay, so we must locate our operations either down there, or close to CalTrain to have access to the talent.” This concept has been circling the tech and real estate community alike, but is it true? It’s apparent that a huge concentration of technology related companies are based in the Valley, but how large is the discrepancy, and are there other major pools of engineers living in and around the Bay Area (i.e. the East Bay, San Francisco, etc.).

We received a phenomenal amount of feedback, but by far the best response we received was from Chris Burton, who does Business Development & Facilitation for the San Jose Office of Economic Development:

“The Milken Institute’s 2009 “America’s High-Tech Economy” study is probably the most in-depth analysis of high tech cluster patterns across North America. The study uses a number of different metrics and ranks the San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara metro area above the San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City area, especially based on employment. The SJ metro area (Silicon Valley) actually ranks 1st on the overall index with a high tech employment concentration four-and-a-half times higher than the national average.

When looking at a direct comparison, I think you have to take into account the larger population of the South Bay versus San Francisco and the Peninsula. Silicon Valley has a population of about 2.6 million versus San Francisco’s 800,000. This combined with more than 35% of the active workforce having a bachelors degree or higher, represents a significant talent pool. San Jose State University is another significant factor. The college has an enrollment of about 31,000 students and has traditionally been very strong in engineering, computer science and business bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.

Joint Venture’s “Index Silicon Valley” is another great source of base information on Silicon Valley.”

We agree with Chris. To put it simply, it seems that the larger population center of Silicon Valley combined with the enormous amount of intellectual wealth has a huge impact on the quantity and caliber of engineers in the South Bay. We’ve posted the two documents mentioned as well.


  1. […] situation in SoMa and along the Caltrain corridor. As we mentioned in post from some time ago regarding engineering pools, there is a great discrepancy of population in Valley as compared to the city and therefore a […]

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