Automation Alley Survey Predicts Strong Growth For Region's Tech Sector

TROY — Automation Alley forecasts economic growth for Southeast Michigan technology companies in 2016 — and predicts the region will outperform even Silicon Valley in many key areas, including revenue, R&D investment and hiring.

These findings and more were released in Automation Alley’s 2016 Technology Industry Report.

Automation Alley, Michigan’s largest technology business association, surveyed top senior technology executives in both Southeast Michigan and Silicon Valley. Almost all Southeast Michigan tech executives predict revenue growth (99 percent) this year and 25 percent of those predict more than a 15 percent increase.

And, Southeast Michigan trumps Silicon Valley when it comes to return on investment and cost of living for its employees. A vast majority of Southeast Michigan executives (83 percent) believe technology companies can have greater return on investment doing business in metro Detroit while only 69 percent of their Silicon Valley counterparts believe the same to be true about the Valley. And, cost of living for employees in Southeast Michigan is far superior to Silicon Valley. For example, median housing prices are 412 percent higher in San Jose than in metro Detroit.

“As Michigan’s leading technology business association, Automation Alley publishes the Technology Industry Report to increase awareness of Southeast Michigan as a leading center for tech talent, innovation and opportunity in America,” said Ken Rogers, Automation Alley executive director. “These results make a statement that this region competes favorably with the Silicon Valleys of the world. No need to get on a plane, take a train, and head for a better technology center than what we have right here in Southeast Michigan. We compete with the best and brightest in America. We encourage the region’s leaders and influencers, as well as companies and individuals, to tout these new findings. Use the data to recruit. Tell that college grad that they have a tech future right here. Use this report as a tool to further attract talent and investment to our region.”

Automation Alley’s 2016 Technology Industry Report key findings include:

Southeast Michigan technology leaders are optimistic about 2016 growth
* 99 percent in Southeast Michigan project revenue growth in 2016
* 83 percent in Southeast Michigan expect an increase in their company’s R&D spending
* 82 percent in Southeast Michigan plan to hire more talent in 2016

Southeast Michigan is a better place for technology professionals to build their careers than Silicon Valley.
* 74 percent in Southeast Michigan believe the area has a comparatively lower cost of living compared to 48 percent in Silicon Valley
* 81 percent in Southeast Michigan agree this region provides more networking opportunities than other metro areas compared to 77 percent in Silicon Valley
* 85 percent in Southeast Michigan believe this region has leading academic institutions for self-advancement compared to only 68 percent in Silicon Valley

Michigan technology leaders believe this region is a better place to build a technology company than Silicon Valley.
* 74 percent in Southeast Michigan believe it is easier for technology companies to retain talent in this region compared to 67 percent in Silicon Valley
* 83 percent in Southeast Michigan agree that technology companies can have greater return on investment in the metro area compared to 69 percent in Silicon Valley
* 68 percent in Southeast Michigan agreed that technology companies can benefit from the lower cost of capital in the metro area compared to 60 percent in Silicon Valley

For more information about Automation Alley, visit or contact Automation Alley at (800) 427-5100 or

Founded in 1999, Automation Alley has nearly 1,000 tech-focused members in business, education and government. It connects business with talent, resources and funding to accelerate innovation and fuel Southeast Michigan’s economy. It focuses its efforts in five areas: advanced manufacturing, defense, entrepreneurship, international business and talent development.

The online survey was completed by 150 senior executives who are currently working in the technology industry in both Southeast Michigan and Silicon Valley between Nov. 19-14, The respondents were recruited through the Research Now online survey panel. For this study, a senior executive is defined as a professional who has a manager or above job title.

Supporting data for the report, along with employment projections for 2016, were provided by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group. In addition to assessing data for the Southeast Michigan region, the report looked at data for five U.S. metropolitan regions that are widely considered to be among the nation’s leading technology hubs: San Jose, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Austin.

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