Amazon’s decision to back out of a New York HQ2 and instead spread hiring across other locations may be one more sign of a growing trend in site selection. A recent report, commissioned by the Greater Richmond Partnership and conducted by Wadley Donnovan Gustshaw Consulting Group, suggests many companies are moving mid-level professional jobs to lower-cost metros that are still able to provide the necessary workforce talent and an attractive quality of life.
In potential support of this trend, a section of Amazon’s statement indicates new hiring that would have been concentrated in New York will instead take place in several (lower-cost) metros:
“We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.”
- San Francisco
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
The Greater Richmond Partnership report describes several characteristics of middle office jobs, such as “not executive nor entry level positions,” and “decision-centric, flexibly structured and…[involving] extensive collaborations.” For the purposes of this blog, “middle office” jobs are loosely defined as jobs requiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree that fall into the following major occupation groups:
- Business & Financial Operations
- Computer & Mathematical
- Architecture & Engineering
- Life, Physical & Social Sciences
- Education, Training & Library
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Media
- Sales & Related
- Office & Administrative Support
In 2018, Amazon posted nearly 35,000 unique ads online for jobs in this “middle office” definition based on Chmura’s Real Time Intelligence (RTI) module in JobsEQ. Applications software developers accounted for the most jobs (nearly 8,500) and about half of these jobs posted were in Seattle.
Ads were not limited to Seattle, however, and the other “corporate offices and tech hubs” mentioned that already have a considerable number of ads may see an increase in demand for these positions from Amazon as it looks to move middle office jobs out of higher cost of living areas. Indeed, as shown in the map below, recent ads for middle office occupations at Amazon are showing up in many of the existing office and tech hubs.
 “Unique” meaning deduplicated ads—multiple instances of the same ad being counted only once.
 The map excludes ads posted in Seattle. Data reflect online job postings for the 30 day period ending 3/7/2019.