SAN FRANCISCO, CA — sf.citi unveiled a dashboard featuring new evidence of a mass migration of tech companies and workers out of San Francisco and the devastating impact such a “tech exodus” will have on San Francisco’s economy.
Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, San Francisco tech trade association sf.citi has been closely monitoring the pandemic’s effects on San Francisco, including the surge of tech companies and tech employees leaving the city. sf.citi’s tech exodus dashboard aggregates the many data points that have emerged over the last 10 months.
The dashboard also includes the results of an sf.citi survey conducted among 83 tech founders and CEOs in January 2021 about their long-term plans for remote work and growth in San Francisco, the findings of which are listed below.
- 55 percent of tech companies surveyed expect at least 25 percent of their Bay Area workforce to remain permanently remote. 36 percent anticipate as much as 50 to 100 percent of their Bay Area workforce to remain permanently remote.
- 63 percent of tech companies surveyed have already downsized or plan to downsize their office space in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- 59 percent of tech companies surveyed consider San Francisco regulations, taxes, and policies significant factors in their decisions toward company growth.
- 76 percent of tech companies surveyed say the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their plans for growth in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Shaan Hathiramani, CEO of Flockjay, represents one of the tech companies embracing remote work. His company will adopt a remote-first policy in which 90 percent of the total workforce will become fully remote (up from 10 percent). “We believe that the advent of remote-first hiring will allow for us to develop a better product through better empathy for our user,” said Hathiramani. “We will be able to hire a decentralized workforce with greater diversity of background, whether it be geography, gender, race, or capability.”
“What the data makes abundantly clear is that tech companies and their employees are reducing their footprint in San Francisco, their departure does not bode well for San Francisco’s economic future, and the industry trend toward decentralization is only going to accelerate after the pandemic ends,” said sf.citi Executive Director Jennifer Stojkovic. “Over the last decade, San Francisco policymakers have tightened the City’s reliance on the tech industry for critical revenue—while doubling the City’s budget. At the same time, they’ve passed countless taxes and regulations that make it incredibly difficult for tech companies and their employees to stay and grow in San Francisco. We’ve all known a breaking point was coming and now the City will have to grapple with the consequences.”
Of course, many tech and business leaders plan to stay in San Francisco, even as they look for a greater willingness among San Francisco policymakers to collaborate with the tech industry.
Founder of SV Angel and sf.citi Board Chair Ron Conway explained, “I have always believed in San Francisco. That’s why I’m calling on my fellow tech and business leaders to commit to staying in San Francisco and helping the City recover from the COVID-19 pandemic—an area in which many have already demonstrated incredible leadership. At the same time, we ask for a commitment to real partnership from local leadership.
“Divisive rhetoric and policies that seek to punish the tech sector and tech workers will only smother San Francisco’s innovation economy and fiscal sustainability for the long term. Now is the time to end the ‘us vs. them’ dynamic and work together to rebuild. San Francisco can be at its best again when we come together to improve our City.”
sf.citi will regularly update its tech exodus dashboard to continue providing the latest information and data on tech companies and tech workers leaving the San Francisco Bay Area.
You can access sf.citi’s tech exodus dashboard by visiting https://sfciti.org/sf-tech-exodus/.
sf.citi is San Francisco’s tech trade association developed to empower the San Francisco technology community to have a voice in local tech policy decisions and collaborate with leaders in government on solving local issues. Founded in 2012, we are committed to building cross-sector conversation between the City’s tech, nonprofit, and political communities. We drive innovative policy solutions and develop social impact partnerships to address longstanding issues facing San Francisco.
Media Requests: Jacqueline McGraw, sf.citi Marketing and Communications Manager, email@example.com