Zapier’s move underscores the Bay Area housing crisis
Looking for work? Get out of town.
Zapier, a Silicon Valley startup that helps automate business processes, is offering $10,000 to employees who decide not to live in the Bay Area. While companies sometimes offer new recruits a relocation package to their place of work, Zapier, where most employees work remotely, is making the opposite move because of the housing crunch around San Francisco.
“The housing crunch and high cost of living simply price out many families and, despite loving the area, the realities are many of us need to look elsewhere to create the life we want for our families,” wrote Zapier chief executive Wade Foster in a blog post announcing the move. About 150 people have applied for jobs since the post was published, he told the Guardian.
Relatively strict building restrictions and a booming population have made California home to the priciest housing markets in America. The average monthly rent for an apartment in San Francisco is $3,809, data from Rent Jungle show. Buying a home is also out of reach for many: A four-bed, two-bath home in Cupertino, where Apple Inc. is headquartered costs $1.81 million, according to Coldwell Banker.
While housing advocates have long complained that gentrification is forcing out low-income tenants, the current housing crisis is also claiming high-earners as victims. Apocryphal stories abound of software engineers with six digital salaries sharing cramped apartments and commuting two hours to work. Last year, San Francisco Federal Credit Union head Steven Stapp said he was moving to Oregon for another job because his rent was too high.
That’s a fate that Foster is hoping his employees can avoid. “You have to go from the land of opportunity for your tech career to a city with a more limited set of options for your own personal growth,” he wrote. “At Zapier we don’t think you should have to make that tradeoff.”
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