Commuter survey finds tech talent bonanza in Santa Cruz

15 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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Not worth the money.

Ditching a two hour commute and working in Santa Cruz is worth a 9% cut in pay, according to a survey by Civinomics, commissioned by South Swell Ventures. Most of those surveyed – 61% – said they had technical jobs, with software engineers predominating. The most commonly reported commute time was 2 hours (28%), with 80% saying they traveled at least an hour and a half a day. The sample was specifically targeted rather than random…

The survey was conducted in two parts, with half of respondents being randomly selected while boarding company buses at multiple stops, and the other half being referred through a verified link via email. The latter group of respondents are primarily single car commuters who had heard about the survey through local events and co-workers.

Car commuters, though, were more likely – 78% to 46% – to say they’d take less money for working over the hill than company bus riders, which suggests that it’s not based purely on lifestyle considerations. With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, there’s also an economic benefit to staying at home, which would partially offset lower pay.

The results validate the assumption that there is a significant reservoir of high tech talent on California’s central coast that’s ready to be tapped, which is an opportunity for local start-ups and growing Silicon Valley companies alike. With a new fiber optic line in the works, the central coast’s broadband capacity will also be up to the challenge, expanding location options south through Santa Cruz County and into the Salinas Valley. Unmatched quality of life combined with superior infrastructure is hard to beat.