Commentary

Amazon's New HQs Will Lure Tech Talent In Computing, Advertising, Video Streaming

Amazon’s plans to hire 50,000 new workers in New York City and Washington, D.C., likely will set off a bidding war for tech talent among the many publishers in both cities.

Publishing has become a high-tech business, especially with smartphones boosting the consumption of online content in the past 10 years. Digital publishers depend on teams of tech workers to keep their websites and apps running smoothly.

Amazon’s expansion is happening amid strong demand for computer programmers, mobile app developers, data scientists and cybersecurity experts. Their salaries keep going up as almost every kind of industry needs tech workers.

U.S. tech employment has grown by about 200,000 new jobs a year since 2010 and shows no sign of slowing down, according to an industry report from Computing Technology Industry Association.

The scramble for tech workers will lift demand for other kinds of talent, too. Technology companies have more than 3.7 million workers in supporting roles, such as marketing and financing, the association said.

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Many of these professionals want to work for tech companies like Google or for venture-backed startups that offer the promise of future riches in a buyout or IPO.

While the tech industry is mostly associated with Silicon Valley, New York’s knowledge-based companies in publishing, advertising and banking rely on thousands of computer technology professionals. J.P. Morgan Chase has 50,000 tech workers and hired its first artificial intelligence research chief this year, according to Barron’s.

And Amazon isn’t alone in its hiring plans.

Google will expand its New York office space to make room for more than 12,000 new workers, The Wall Street Journal reported this month. This summer, Facebook’s Instagram opened an office in New York with plans to hire hundreds of engineers. Fitness tech company Peloton will move into bigger headquarters in midtown Manhattan in 2020 and currently has 100 job openings.

Amazon plans to start recruiting in a few months for its new headquarters in New York’s Long Island City and Arlington, Virginia. The company needs tech workers to support its expansion into cloud computing, advertising, video streaming and TV production. The average salary for those workers will be $150,000 a year, according to press reports.

Publishers likely won’t fret too much over tech-worker turnover, which is the highest among all job categories. About 13% of workers specializing in software leave their employers for another job each year, according to LinkedIn’s analysis of job listing revisions.

But the turnover rate was equally high for two other industry groups: newspapers and online media.

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