Home Media SCU Leavey Blog Working in Silicon Valley

Working in Silicon Valley

11 Aug
Panorama of San Jose California Downtown

From the early 1900s, when it was home to one of the first radio stations in the United States, Silicon Valley has been known as a hub of forward-thinking technology, although it wasn’t until 1971 that journalist Dan Hoefler coined its current moniker.1 Despite the rise of remote work in recent years and widespread internet connectivity that should make workplace location irrelevant, cutting-edge startups—and the people who want to work for them—continue to flock to Silicon Valley.2

Working in Silicon Valley brings a host of benefits and challenges to companies and employees. Read on to learn more about the employment environment, opportunities, and salary potential you can expect from the area.

Understanding Silicon Valley

As the home to tech giants such as Google, Meta, Apple, Adobe, and eBay, Silicon Valley has become synonymous with innovation. It’s located in the Santa Clara Valley of the San Francisco Bay area and gets its nickname from the silicon semiconductors that power computer technology.3 Some of the factors that set Silicon Valley apart as a destination location for technology businesses include:

A Deep Pool of Tech Talent

With the Valley's reputation and the pedigree of its commercial residents, the area attracts top global tech talent, providing a deep pool of expert local professionals. In Fremont, the so-called “hardware side”4 of Silicon Valley, 98 languages are spoken among residents, and 49% of adults have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.5

Networking Opportunities

Silicon Valley is a world-renowned global startup ecosystem. Companies can easily access the most recent information about new advancements and next-generation technologies. There are ample opportunities–from product fairs to seminars to simply being in the vicinity of innovators6–for business leaders to meet, learn from, and collaborate with other creative innovators from all over the world.

Access to Venture Capital

Despite some upheaval in the Silicon Valley tech industry–including major layoffs and the failure of Silicon Valley Bank–it remains the leader in attracting venture capital financing. The Bay area accounts for 41% of all venture investing in the US: a total of $15.2 billion in the first quarter of 2023.7 Doing business near some of the world's top venture capital firms gives companies an edge in securing funding.

Silicon Valley Work Culture and Effectiveness

Silicon Valley innovations don't stop at developing the latest software. Silicon Valley work culture has expanded beyond the Bay area to other companies interested in imitating its results. The unique blend of playfulness and intensity, however, is difficult to duplicate.8

Casual Environment

The global research and analytics leader Korn Ferry estimates that the current tech talent shortage will reach 85 million jobs by 2030.9 This shortage has made competition for top tech talent fierce. Firms in Silicon Valley have responded to this by offering over-the-top benefits and perks–including free dinners, appointments with on-site massage therapists, and laundry services–to employees. While some tech companies are scaling back due to recent layoffs, you can still expect that working in Silicon Valley will include a laid-back, casual environment designed to foster collaboration and creativity.10

The Silicon Valley work culture includes a relaxed dress code and an open floor plan at most companies, so you can leave your suits in the closet and expect a lot of interaction with your colleagues.

Long Hours

Intent on working in Silicon Valley? Don’t expect the casual atmosphere to extend to your schedule. Many tech companies in the Valley expect employees to work long hours. Esther Crawford, a manager on Twitter’s product team, went viral for posting a picture of her makeshift bed at the office during a push to meet a deadline. Using the hashtag #SleepWhereYouWork, Crawford explained she was part of a global team of employees who were giving their all “to bring something new to life.”11

While sleeping at the office isn’t typical, there is widespread criticism that many employee perks offered by big tech companies are a ploy to keep people in the office beyond regular working hours with no guarantee of job security.12 Despite her nocturnal dedication, Crawford was let go in a later round of layoffs at Twitter.

High Salaries

The outsized work hours in Silicon Valley correspond to outsized salaries. The median pay for tech workers in the San Francisco Bay area is $234,000, with principal engineers often earning over one million dollars annually.13 The average annual salary for leaders with an MBA in Silicon Valley is $139,622.14

How hard is it to get a job in Silicon Valley?

Despite recent layoffs at companies such as Twitter, Meta, and Microsoft, the job market is still favorable in Silicon Valley. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bay area's job market was stronger in April of 2023 than it was a year prior, showing that the market is still on the upswing.15 A remarkable 79% of workers who were laid off found jobs within three months.16

So how hard is it to get a job in Silicon Valley? Although the job market is favorable, it’s still competitive. To stand out above the competition, particularly for non-tech leadership roles, you’ll need a solid foundation in business essentials and a strong network. Demonstrated skills and experience in the following areas can help set you apart when applying for positions in Silicon Valley:

  • Principled leadership
  • Communication and team building
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Innovation and entrepreneurial mindset

Turn your goals into your Silicon Valley career.

To become the undeniable hiring choice, you need the right degree. The Leavey School of Business brings Silicon Valley’s innovative spirit to our Online MBA program. Study under industry experts as you develop the skills and expertise you need to succeed in the hub of Big Tech. To get details on the admissions process and start your career advancement, schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.

  1. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-history-technology-industry-animated-timeline-video-2017-5
  2. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2023/03/14/the-rise-of-remote-work-and-how-to-handle-a-remote-first-team/?sh=d3185333cb78
  3. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from csis.org/blogs/perspectives-innovation/lessons-silicon-valley-world-renowned-technology-hub
  4. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from fremont.gov/about#
  5. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from thinksiliconvalley.com/talent/
  6. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from siteselection.com/issues/2023/july/amid-disruption-and-diffusion-silicon-valley-still-tops.cfm
  7. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from sfstandard.com/2023/04/13/san-francisco-bay-area-still-leads-nations-wounded-startup-economy/
  8. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from techsposv.com/silicon-valley-culture/
  9. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from kornferry.com/insights/this-week-in-leadership/talent-crunch-future-of-work#
  10. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from qz.com/how-the-tech-squeeze-is-affecting-silicon-valleys-famou-1850308105
  11. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from twitter.com/esthercrawford/status/1587709705488830464
  12. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from vox.com/recode/2022/11/10/23451038/silicon-valley-layoffs-meta-facebook-jobs-work-identity
  13. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from itpro.com/business-strategy/careers-training/369795/software-engineering-salaries-top-1m-in-silicon-valley
  14. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from glassdoor.com/Salaries/san-francisco-mba-salary-SRCH_IL.0,13_IM759_KO14,17.htm
  15. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/sf-job-market-18138022.php
  16. Retrieved on July 19, 2023, from foxbusiness.com/economy/laid-off-tech-workers-quickly-find-new-jobs