When you think about Nashville, TN your first thought is probably country music and the Grand Ole Opry. While these are staples in this great town, it’s not the only thing Nashville has going for it. Now dubbed one of the most promising places to live, Nashville has a lot to give its residents: mild yearly climate, a great cost of living, awesome food and job growth (just to name a few).
It could be that you currently reside in “Nashvegas” or maybe you’re considering a move. Either way, here’s a glance at what’s going on inside the tech job market in Nashville. But first, let’s discuss the overall advantages to living in this great city as it’s been winning all kinds of accolades lately:
- A Gallup poll ranked it as one of the top five regions for job growth
- A national entrepreneurs’ group called it one of the best places to begin a technology start-up (NY Times)
- GQ Magazine hailed it as “Nowville”
If these praises weren’t enough, the reasonable cost of living makes residing here even more desirable. According to Wilshire, the cost of living in Nashville is 14% less than the national average. Unemployment is also down compared to the rest of the country. Davidson County (which includes Nashville) has reported their unemployment rate at just 4.7% (the national unemployment rate was most recently reported at 6.2%).
Beyond all these great things, there are two major advances happening in Nashville: the increase of start-ups and also the growth of technology. Of course, these two things go somewhat hand in hand but let’s discuss each independently:
Nashville is known for the amount of healthcare companies that reside there. The New York Times reports, “By some estimates, half of the nation’s health care plans are run by companies in the Nashville area.” However, Nashville is branching out of this industry and becoming an attractive city for start-up organizations.
In 2010, Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce developed the Entrepreneur Center – the EC connects entrepreneurs with investors, mentors and resources that need to launch a startup business. And it’s working. Startups like Emma, Moontoast and Populr have all set up shop in Nashville.
Along with growth in healthcare and the start-up scene taking off, this of course, creates a multitude of IT jobs. Lisa Massey, president and CEO of the Nashville Technology Council says, “The city has become so good at attracting and starting businesses that we’ve actually weathered the recession quite well. I get pulled into meetings all the time with companies who are looking to expand and all they want to work on is tech workforce.”
IT in Nashville
In addition to the healthcare and start-up companies we talked about earlier, technology leaders like Microsoft, Dell and HP have also settled roots in Nashville, further increasing the need for tech jobs. Specifically the need for IT workers is in data processing and systems design. According to Forbes, these two areas of technology fueled tech industry growth of 43% along with the 18.5% STEM employment growth over the past decade.
Anna Burton, Recruiting Manager at the IDR Nashville branch agrees, “The Nashville market is booming right now. All of our clients are in the market for IT talent. Specifically we’re seeing a high demand for Developers and Project Managers.”
Forbes also reports that tech employment is up 65.8%, largely due to the area’s rise as a hospital management and healthcare IT hub, with a 160% spike in jobs in computer systems design services, as well.
However, the city is not immune to the lack of IT talent that other major cities are experiencing as well. City and business leaders within Nashville have made it a priority to recruit and build talent. The Nashville Technology Council was established to help do just that as well as WorkIT Nashville – a marketing campaign to recruit IT workers to the area. According to Courtney Ross, Vice President of Economic Development for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, “The 21 colleges and universities here have 100,000 students, supplying a huge pool of talent. The fact that almost 60% of them choose to stay here because of the quality of life is a big selling feature for this region.”
When you think of an IT hub or tech hot spot, your mind might immediately go to the west coast and Silicon Valley. However, Nashville has surprisingly risen to the top ranks of where you should consider living and working for your IT job. With the many great attributes of living in this city, combined with the availability of tech jobs and great companies to work for, don’t count “Music City” out.