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Indeed SVP of Engineering Doug Gray speaks at a Seattle Chamber of Commerce event on attracting tech talent. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Software engineers in Seattle stay at companies an average of six months longer than do their counterparts in San Francisco, according to data from online job search giant Indeed.

That may seem like a small difference, but it’s actually quite significant when compared to the total time engineers tend to stay with a company. In Seattle, they average 29 months while San Francisco devs stick around for about 23 months.

Doug Gray, Indeed’s senior vice president of engineering, shared that finding along with other statistics during an event on attracting tech talent, hosted by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning.

“That is another thing that we should be promoting here in Seattle, is that greater loyalty, which leads to the ability for someone to have an impact in their company, for them to actually have greater career development within that company,” said Gray.

Indeed is headquartered in Austin, Texas, but Gray’s talk focused on Seattle’s job market and how the business community can narrow the tech talent gap. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by Gray, 1.3 million new U.S. software jobs will be added over the next 10 years. Despite a growing interest in tech, just 400,000 people are expected to graduate with computer science degrees, according to National Science Foundation data, also cited by Gray.

The Seattle tech community is acutely aware of this problem. That’s why it has thrown its weight behind alternative training programs, like the ADA Developers Academy, and donated millions to build a new computer science facility at the University of Washington.

High demand and low supply is one reason there tends to be a lot of churn in software engineering. But Gray also has another theory to explain why developers in Seattle stick around longer than those in the Bay Area.

“The Bay Area has really created that mentality where people are just like, ‘OK, I’m going to buy my lottery ticket — which is some stock options — and then two years later I’m going to buy some more; and two years later, I’m going to buy some more.’ And it just creates this cascading effect, but that’s just the way the market works,” Gray said.

“In Seattle, it’s not quite like that, at this point,” he added. “There’s some of that going on, but it’s much more people coming here and they want to experience Amazon. ‘Let me experience Microsoft. And I may determine that that culture isn’t the right fit for me.’ Because there are a lot of people who don’t spend a lifetime at Amazon. Some do, though. And it’s just a matter of figuring out, is that the right culture, as opposed to, ‘Do I want to buy a lottery ticket?'”

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