A phenomenon is taking hold in the United States called the Great Resignation. You might have heard of it — in May 2021 alone, 3.6 million employees quit their jobs. But while this onslaught of job abandonment was foreshadowed by shifting attitudes throughout the pandemic, few companies took notice. A year of isolation gave many employees the time and space to reevaluate their options and priorities, and for many this illuminated their discontentment with their jobs.
Discerning business leaders are starting to reflect on their business needs as well, and many are taking note of the nearly 900 people moving to Florida every day. If employees are being beckoned by the Sunshine State's desirable climate, pristine beaches and easy daily commute, a relocation or a second office may allow companies to tap into this growing talent pipeline.
Tech companies are moving to Florida in droves thanks to this influx of talent, the state's business first mindset and an absence of state income tax. But while Florida offers many business incentives, there are several other benefits the state provides that can indirectly affect a tech company's bottom line.
Florida higher education drives growth in the tech sector
It's easy to revere certain cities for their accomplishments in the tech world, while relegating others to second class. But companies that subscribe to this idea might find themselves in a more stagnant location than history would have them believe, as a severe "brain drain" from Silicon Valley and similar areas continues with tech workers fleeing exorbitant costs of living.
Toward the beginning of the pandemic, Florida started to set aside CARES Act funds to reskill employees that had been most heavily impacted the by the pandemic – those working in the hospitality industry. The state amplified partnerships with universities, doubling down to create curriculum that would meet the unique needs of tech companies. Henry Mack, Chancellor of Florida Department of Education's Division of Career and Adult Education, estimates that about 17,000 workers impacted by COVID have graduated from short-term certification programs, well-prepared for the workforce.
The state's expanded partnerships with universities have evolved into something more permanent — the Get There Florida Initiative. Twenty-eight Florida Colleges and 48 technical colleges expedite students' time to certification completion in such fields as advanced manufacturing, information technology and engineering, to name a few.
A Bright Forecast for Business and Life
The initiative has led to high confidence in the Florida workforce.
In 2021, Zumper is taking up tenancy in South Florida. The Bay Area home rental platform company estimates they will hire up to 150 employees to work in this new location.
Tech firm Bowery Valuation also saw the influx of workers looking to increase their quality of life in Florida. After raising $35 million in a Series B funding round, the New York-based real estate appraisal company announced plans to open several offices throughout the state, including Miami and Central Florida. The firm opened their first office just outside of Miami in May 2021 alongside contactless item return service ReturnQueen, which cited Florida's open for business mindset as reason for their further expansion in the state.
Businesses need not expand into major Florida metropolitans, either. In July 2021, Governor DeSantis announced more than $30 million in grants to improve infrastructure in small and rural communities throughout the state.
With many businesses fleeing states with higher taxes, the title of 'U.S. Tech Capital' is up for grabs. CFOs and organization leaders are beginning to realize that Florida's quality of life and commitment to innovation are key components for hiring top talent.
Who knows what might happen?