Tech companies and federal agencies headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area should be very worried about Amazon’s imminent move to the area.
More than half of the local workforce in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. say they would consider leaving their current job for one at Amazon, according to a poll released Wednesday by Eagle Hill Consulting.
The interest in working at Amazon is even greater among information technology employees, 71 percent of whom said they’d contemplate ditching their current employer for Amazon, largely due to higher salaries, interesting work and the progressive nature of the company.
The polling—an online survey completed by 1,007 respondents in the Beltway area—was completed in December after Amazon announced it would split its second headquarters between Arlington, Virginia and Queens, New York.
Each site will generate as many as 25,000 new jobs—paying an average of $100,000 per year—but the poll suggests HQ2 could dramatically disrupt Washington, D.C.’s tech and government workforce.
More than 6 million people live in Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, and the area is also home to 1 in 6 of the 1.8 million civilian full-time federal employees.
“Area employers should be worried, especially those that need to retain their tech talent,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting, which sponsored the study.
“Employers should do all they can now to hang on to their employees before Amazon arrives–especially in such a tight labor market,” Jezior said. “And given the ongoing government shutdown and chronic morale issues, federal agencies should be particularly concerned about losing their top performers to Amazon.”
Lawmakers continue to highlight how the partial shutdown is impacting federal workers, and Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., this week said it could exacerbate the government’s tech hiring woes. Across government agencies, IT professionals over the age of 60 outnumber their under 30-year-old colleagues 4.6 to 1. At the Veterans Affairs Department, that ratio is 19 to 1.
Amazon, however, attracts talent.
Even before Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, the company was one of the top employers of tech employees in the Washington, D.C. area due to the major expansion of Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing business.
In 2017, AWS made Fairfax County, Virginia the home of its East Coast headquarters, bringing as many as 1,500 jobs to the area. Many of those jobs involve work with the company’s growing number of government contracts, including those with the CIA, Defense Department and NASA.