In recent years, the growth of the tech industry has taken off, led by large companies such as Google and Facebook. Major corporations are taking in more and more employees to support these fast-paced expansions.
This trend in employee growth has caused some drastic changes for others in Silicon Valley. An average worker may struggle to pay rent that a young tech employee can easily afford. As more tech employees move into the limited number of apartments in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, the cost of rent drastically goes up. Many point to the fact that tech employees themselves cannot control the rising cost of housing; after all, it is the owners of apartment complexes that continue to take advantage of the opportunity to increase rent.
About 10 years ago, the tech industry was just taking root in the Bay Area. As years have passed, the industry has grown to enormous dimensions, especially in our immediate vicinity. José Bermudez, an environmental servicer or janitor in Mountain View, states that he is against the growth and expansion of tech industries as it is “ just an excuse to generate tax revenue through high-tech companies.”
Chandra Kshirsaga, a senior software engineer and database administrator, has a different take on the subject. Kshirsaga explains that she is for the growth of tech industries and wants them to grow and improve even more. “I worked for the tech industry. It is a competitive and challenging work environment,” says Kshirsaga.
Bermudez claims that about 15 years ago, the average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment was about $1100 a month; now it is about $3,000-$5,000. For those not earning tech salaries, this poses a financial challenge. Bermudez is just one of these renters. “I work eight hours a day and the rent is still high due to tech companies.” Kshirsaga affirmed that “Yes, it is much easier to pay rent due to the job I am currently in.” With apartment renters taking up 60 percent of Mountain View’s population, about more than half are non tech workers struggling to keep their ground during the constant influx of young, newly-graduated tech employees says Jerry Garrett, the owner of Pacific Properties in Mountain View.
Longterm residents often end up sharing the same apartment complexes with those young technology workers. Bermudez has been a local in the Bay area for 53 years and has lived at Pacific Properties in Mountain View for seven years. “In just a couple of years I have noticed that most people who live at Pacific Properties work for high-tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.” Kshirsaga explains she has only lived in the Bay area for five years and has lived at Pacific Properties for nine months.
Overall, increased cost of living in the region has led to a lack of housing and apartment spaces.