Phoenix, Arizona is an oasis amidst its arid, desert climate for tech giants and new entrepreneurial businesses. Home to 130+ startups and the Phoenix Innovation District, is it a hotbed of tech-focused organizations, as well as home to a fun loving, diverse, young workforce. Whether you are exploring the Warehouse District or Phoenix’s downtown, the tech sector has found a way to flourish underneath the hot Arizona sun. CRBE listed Phoenix as expanding heavily in the past few years, seeing a growth of 122,500 science, technology, engineering and math jobs in the metro Phoenix area in 2017, with 17,600 of those jobs added from 2011 to 2017. Phoenix is proving to be its own growth hub, attracting businesses and employees with innovative centers, lower costs and a better way of living.
The City’s Vision
The City of Phoenix in recent years has been advocating for emerging and established companies to take up shop in its neighborhoods. The vision for the city is one of growth and for its citizens to have a healthy work-life balance, with a good wage and opportunities for them to travel within and outside the city. Phoenix is projected to have the third most population growth of any metropolitan city through 2022, while also seeing its citizens have especially lost cost of living compared to the national average. The median household income for Phoenix is $55,227, with opportunities for young people to work in sectors like cybersecurity, finance & insurance, software & IT, healthcare and biomedical, and more. Historically, startups like Lifelock, GoDaddy, Axon, and Carvana have also given opportunities to young people looking to work in Phoenix. As for lifestyle, young people in Phoenix can enjoy its lively downtown areas or venture out to the deserts. Adventurous Phoenix residents can find themselves at one of the Phoenix area’s 22 national parks, 10 national natural landmarks, and a variety of beaches as well as breathtaking hikes.
Phoenix also utilizes its collaborative innovative philosophy across different areas, benefiting its citizens and young workforce. Arizona State University is one of forty other Phoenix universities that collaboratively creates a pipeline for tech companies to find future employees. Arizona State University alone has 21,000 students studying technology, and 3,000 in information technology. The city also has its own Greater Phoenix Connective, where an association of different businesses work on specific goals to increase collaboration and engagement across different Phoenix communities. This organization is one of many examples of how Phoenix is focused on creating a city-wide innovative environment. This dedication can be seen in Phoenix’s commitment to sectors such as health sciences, fintech, and research and development expenditures. Last year, the research and development sector in Phoenix saw an increase of 142% in investments. With a mix of different industries and ways for young employees to find professional satisfaction, Phoenix has a clear vision of what they want to see in the future to grow as a business community.
Making Strides with New Centers
Phoenix prides itself on providing resources and creating new ”innovation centers” in the hub of their city, as they want to encourage collaborative environments where startups can work together. This is evident through the city’s 9.2 million square feet of office space and 1.1 million square feet of industrial space located within one of Phoenix’s new innovation districts. Additionally, organizations like Phoenix’s Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation enable a vibrant community of entrepreneurs to focus on their work and on industry-changing technologies. This includes industry segments in bioscience, medical devices, clean tech, and software. The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation was also recently able to raise $83 million in capital from 2012 to 2017. Another company, the global digital services consulting firm Infosys, created their own center in 2019. Launching in Scottsdale, they were able to acquire a 60,000-square-foot permanent building with 500 employees and planning to add a total of 1,000 jobs. With these centers focused on creating business opportunities, Phoenix has seen more people interested in its employment and mentorship opportunities, with businesses looking to expand.
A Forward-Thinking Community
What separates Phoenix from other cities is its focus on trying different approaches to trade and technology. This includes a relationship of trade that in 2018, allowed Phoenix to total a $16.6 billion two way trade system with Mexico. Phoenix’s Mayor Greg Stanton also encouraged this attitude of trade, inspiring 14 trade missions to Mexico as part of this initiative. Public entities in Phoenix, such as the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council support this attitude of exporting and trade as well.
Familiar and new technologies find their way in leading forward thinking in Phoenix. Familiar Silicon Valley tech companies set up some offices recently in Greater Phoenix, including Uber, Paypal, Weebly, Zenefits, and more. In particular, a new technology emerged in Phoenix, as the phenomenon of wearable technology took hold of the tech hubs of the city in recent years. The WearTech Applied Research Center became the product of collaborations with Arizona State University and local governments. This technology focuses on devices that can be worn in order to monitor heart rate, glucose levels, and other health concerns. The center recently received a $75,000 grant from the US Chamber of Commerce, as one of the many 133,600 innovators and businesses seeing success in the Phoenix area.
Phoenix has found its footing as a place for young people interested in technology, healthcare, and business to immerse himself in collaborative communities. While working for the Phoenix offices of companies like WebPT, Nextiva, Mindspace, and more, employees repeatedly described working in “fun, collaborative” community-based offices where celebrations are encouraged among its enthusiastic employees. The greater Phoenix area now employs more than 57,000 workers in high-tech, software, and service positions, with good wages and a lost cost of living. Landing as #6 on CRBE’s 2018 Tech-30 (in terms of growth between 2017-2019) Phoenix is showing significant expansion as a tech giant. Combined with its low cost of living, innovative community-based centers, and 226 days of sunlight, Phoenix has proven itself to be a sun-drenched hotspot for businesses and employees.
At One America Works, we are future-focused on how to connect the dots in the national economy for growth companies, thriving cities, and individuals looking for their next opportunity. Connect with us if you need help working through what the future of work means for you!