The golden dream of Silicon Valley It has little gold ... and a lot of sleep. Because if it is true that the salaries paid are stratospheric, it is also true that life is very expensive and in the end the reputed ones engineers who work in the computer developments of the future may even be forced to tighten their belts.
Do the test. In the Web page Openlistings, if you are looking for accommodation in the area of Palo Alto, forty minutes from downtown San Francisco, and a maximum price of "one million dollars" is entered as a filter, the result of the search will yield zero results. If you raise the bar a bit, then you can get an apartment of 87 square meters with a community pool. And it's a bargain.
The cost of living in San Francisco is 64% higher than the US average.
A survey carried out by the application Blind Last summer he revealed that 59% of employees in the San Francisco Bay can not afford to buy a house. Openlistings, in another report, confirms this data because it reveals that the software engineers of the five large technology companies in the bay area will need more than 28% of their salary to pay for a mortgage on an accommodation near their workplace, a percentage that has a considerable weight in the family budget. Real estate prices (900,000 euros on average) have doubled since 2011.
But how much do Silicon Valley engineers charge? "With less than 150,000 euros a year nobody here wants to come," says a young Spaniard who works at one of the technological giants of the place. Its alot? Is it little? In comparative terms with the United States, it is a good salary. According to a study by Indeed (2016) in San Francisco The average salary is 25% higher than in Texas. But does it give to live? The calculation becomes fast. A rental of a two-bedroom apartment in the bay can perfectly for $ 4,000 a month (if you look for something smaller in any case you do not get low of the 2,000).
To this we must add medical insurance, which for a family can reach $ 2,500 per month. And the nursery? We would have to add another $ 1,800. If we take this away from taxes, on average 30%, there is not much room for joys. The Indeed report says that in San Francisco the worker has to allocate an average of 37% of their income to rent, while in Texas, although the remunerations are lower, you only have to reserve 23% for accommodation.
Even so, it is necessary to distinguish there also there are wage disparities, within the companies and between one company and another. Those who pay the most are obviously the biggest firms. Wired magazine, which cites data from the stock market commission SEC, indicates that the average salary on Facebook exceeds $ 240,000, while in Google it stands at 197,000 and Twitter at 161,000. It would also be necessary to clarify when talking about salary, because when examining the remuneration we must also add the part in shares and other cash bonuses that are linked to the achievement of objectives. Through this system, for example, the total remuneration charged in Manzana is 75% lower than the signature of Mark Zuckerberg, because there are fewer bonuses.
"In Silicon Valley, nobody wants to say it expressly, but there is a caste system," says one employee of a technology company. "The developers receive very high salaries, and as these workers are also located in the same area, eb everything that revolves around, from housing, restaurants and leisure, prices skyrocket. But there are also differences between those who live on the Pacific side and those on the other side of the bay, because salaries are decreasing, "adds the source.
"In Silicon Valley there is a caste system"
In effect, the remuneration disparities in California exist. Beyond the engineers of the five large multinationals, the average salary in San Francisco stands at 110,000 dollars, according to the 2018 Tech Town Index. The demand for jobs continues to be high, with an expected growth of 15% in the next five years. But, even if you pay $ 14 per hour more compared to the US average. the cost of living is 64.2% higher.
"The problem is with those who are in the middle range, because they have lower purchasing power. However, you have to think that for many of them working in Silicon Valley is a personal investment that comes into account, especially if they receive part of their compensation in shares. It suits them to stay a few years and hope that the price of the title rises before selling them and moving to a cheaper one, "explains an employee of one of these large multinationals.
A fellow can charge $ 7,000 a month, but his expenses are huge
In particular, workers who are in the lowest categories suffer. For example, according to the Indeed study, the salaries of data managers and administrators are significantly lower (around 80,000) than product or computer engineering developers. Not to mention the fellows, which are a separate case. From a European perspective they are privileged. They charge between $ 7,000 and $ 10,000 per month, including housing assistance. Still in Silicon Valley for them there is no room for many luxuries.
In fact, since they can not count on the astronomical figures of the higher categories, many of them even have to organize and look for imaginative solutions, such as The Negev, a community in which people pay $ 1,900 a month to live in the center. the city of San Francisco in the same building with another 40 people, to share different expenses. "It's like an extension of a university residence. We live like in a fraternity, "Zander Dejah, a 25-year-old Indian computer scientist, told Reuters. "And I thought that New York was expensive," he says.
"I have an interview with Google, but it's hard to say that this is the dream of my life," says an engineer
Account Jean-Loup, a French computer engineer who is doing projects at the University 42, who is very tired of the American lifestyle. "Next week I have an interview with Google. But I find it hard to say that this is the dream of my life. Here, people only live by work. Hardly has social life and at most the weekend goes to the mall. For a European it is difficult to get used to all this. My dream is to return to France in a while, buy a house in the countryside and be surrounded by goats. "
In fact, in Silicon Valley it is common to see in the bars and cafes of these large multinationals many of these young computer scientists stay up late with their laptops to work, eating a sandwich in front of the screen. They are addicted to work, but they are also dragged into a policy of forced saving. For them, the company is like a great mother, who feeds, organizes their free time, from games of ping pong or beach volleyball to coral and yoga in the garden: leisure and food at an affordable price (or even free) . When night falls, some return with the company bus that returns them to San Francisco, where a flat to share, despite their high-sounding salaries.