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More than 40 percent of young tech workers consider fleeing Bay Area

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But survey shows tech workers mostly optimistic about Silicon Valley

Glass office buildings in Redwood City. Photo by Alexey Ulashchick/Shutterstock

It seems like every week there’s another polling group taking the temperature of Bay Area residents to see how many of them want to break for the exits.

In the latest exercise, the SF office of the UK-based firm Brunswick Group polled 300 Bay Area tech workers between January 25 and February 8 to suss out their attitudes about the future.

The resulting report, dubbed “Siliconfidential” and released in late March, found the tech set mostly upbeat about the future of Silicon Valley, but also found a significant number of younger workers considering the merits of life elsewhere.

A few takeaways:

  • The younger tech workers are, the more likely they are to relocate: Asked whether or not they plan to relocate within the next year, 41 percent of Bay Area techies ages 18 to 34 said yes. Just 26 percent of those ages 35 to 44 said the same. And only seven percent of ages 45 and up are giving serious consideration to leaving.
  • Despite recent troubles, most of those polled are upbeat about the region: Asked about the Bay Area tech sector’s best days, 51 percent said they’re still ahead, while 38 percent are of the opinion that tech’s golden age happening right now. Only 11 percent said the best days are in the past.
  • No surprise, techies love tech: Asked whether or not technology makes the world a better place, 77 percent said yes, while only seven percent said no. Note that this is distinct from asking if tech workers consider their current jobs to be a boon to the world.
  • Tech workers still consider the Bay Area unique: Asked if they agree with the opinion that the hardest thing to replicate about the Bay Area in another market is the local culture, 57 percent agreed.
  • Self-driving cars not a driving factor: When asked what kind of developing tech has the most significance in the near future, only 10 percent cited autonomous cars. While that was the second most common opinion, it fell well behind the first-place response of artificial intelligence. Robotics was third with five percent. Note that these three fields are closely related.

For more tech-driven introspection, check out Brunswick’s full results here.

In February, the SF office of Chicago-based public relations firm Edelman quizzed the general Bay Area public about some of its attitudes about tech.

The results found that 57 percent of residents generally trust the tech industry, but that number plunged to 34 percent for social media.

Edelman also found that the biggest worry about locals about the tech industry was not related to the cost of living or housing but instead to data security and privacy.