Remote work gives Iowa, other states new chance to become tech hubs

Cost of living means states like Iowa, Arkansas and Kansas could see influx of talent

Ten US states, including Iowa, could be home to a new generation of tech talent after the rise of remote work across the country, according to new research.

With Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg suggesting that 50% of the company’s workforce could be working remotely by 2030, the strong likelihood is that other tech organizations will follow suit, meaning states with a lower cost of living could become far more desirable for those wanting to escape city life.

And research by cloud talent firm Revolent revealed that Arkansas, Kansas and Iowa come out top when comparing cost of living and rent against the median salary for entry level roles in tech. That opens up the possibility of both an influx of city residents looking to escape to somewhere quieter, and existing cities also avoiding migration as the younger population seek to develop their careers.

“Remote work offers an incredible opportunity to shift the dial for the tech workforce,” said Nabila Salem, president at Revolent. “We know lots of people new to the tech industry want to remain in big cities and enjoy the benefits that brings with it. However, others don’t want that, or struggle to accommodate the long commute that it sometimes demands. And with many businesses removing that requirement to attend the office in-person, it opens up a huge amount of the country to a new audience.”

While the lucrative salaries on offer for tech professionals mean that tech hubs such as California and New York aren’t going to disappear any time soon, it does offer a new way of living for those aspiring to a career in technology, as well as an opportunity to help companies retain staff.

Three out of four tech workers have said it’s important that their company allows them to continue working remotely indefinitely, with 56% reporting an increase in their levels of happiness as a result of working from home. With a skills gap on the verge of a crisis hitting the industry, remote work removes the barriers involved with relocation and opens up technology as a viable career option to much more of the U.S. population than it has before.

North Dakota and Alabama completed the top five states, with Alabama, Kentucky, Nebraska, Mississippi and Missouri rounding out the top ten. “That’s a wide variety of locations that could become home to the next generation of tech specialists,” added Salem. “Whether you live there already or are looking at relocation options, a career in tech no longer requires moving to the East or West Coast in order to take advantage of the lucrative salaries on offer. I think that’s incredibly exciting news for a lot of people that may have previously considered a career in tech, but were ultimately put off by the costs associated with working in one of the more traditional tech hubs.”

The research is based on the median US salary for Junior Salesforce Developer and Administrator across the US from the Mason Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Salesforce Edition, compared with the average cost of living and rent for the most populated city in that state.