Which Locations Are Drawing FinTech Companies? Salt Lake City is #5
As financial technology, or “FinTech,” grows from an obscure corner of the digital market to a source of mainstream trends and broad-reaching innovations, the cities that cultivate FinTech companies are no longer limited to large, traditional financial centers. Recent growth in the industries comprising FinTech has been distributed among markets, primarily in the South and West, that show the right combination of attributes to attract today’s employers.
In recent years, Salt Lake City has harnessed a strong mix of low costs, millennial magnetism, and tech expertise to spur significant growth — both demographically and economically.
Between 2011 and 2017, employment in Salt Lake City’s financial and information industries grew by 20.6 percent, nearly three times the corresponding national increase of 7.6 percent, according to the BLS. Census data show that during this same period, the total population of the Salt Lake City MSA increased by more than 100,000 residents (10.6 percent vs. 5.5 percent nationally) and nearly a quarter of that growth came from migrants — both international and domestic — who have flocked to the metro since 2010.
Salt Lake City is home to the fourth-largest global location of Goldman Sachs, according to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah (edcUTAH), and it also serves as a hub for other major financial institutions.
In CBRE’s 2017 Scoring Tech Talent report, Salt Lake City’s relative business costs are 12 percent below the national average. Additionally, Utah has one of the best tax climates in the nation, ranking #8 in the Tax Foundation’s most recent State Business Tax Climate Index. BLS data show that, among the 50 largest metros by employment, Salt Lake City has the second-lowest median annual salary in business/finance occupations ($58,870) and 15th-lowest salary in computer/math occupations ($77,080). Both figures compare favorably to the corresponding national median salaries of $67,720 and $84,560, respectively.
However, there are signs that Salt Lake City is starting to become more competitive. Historically, costs have remained lower than the national average, but demand for talent is at an all-time high, driven by large expansions of technology and financial services throughout the metro and Lehi Valley. A smaller metro with a labor force of 650,000 and unemployment hovering at 3 percent for the last year, Salt Lake City’s ability for growth is naturally capped and starting to put pressure on existing businesses and new entrants alike.
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