High Tech Jobs Rebounding

After years of ho-hum job growth the U.S. tech sector is once again a good industry for job seekers.

According to a report from AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association), the nation’s largest trade association representing all segments of the high-tech industry, in 2006, the high-tech industry continued growing, adding nearly 150,000 net jobs for a total of 5.8 million in the United States.

This growth is faster than the 87,400 jobs added in 2005. These two years of growth represent an increase of four percent. HB/1 Visa holders are included in the totals since the report looks at job growth, not the nationality of who is holding those jobs.

This is still hasn’t made up for the total number of jobs lost in the “lean years” of 2000-to-2003 or so, said Josh James, senior research manager and co-author of the report, but it’s a very start.

“It’s about a quarter of what was lost from the peak; we’ve got about a quarter of that back,” said James. “We’re very optimistic … now that the industry has turned a corner we think growth could be very high in the years to come but only if companies are able to get the workforce they need to grow and expand.”

The 10th annual Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry report covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The Cyberstates report is not based on survey data or extrapolations, but on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, which is collected from all businesses in the United States as required by law for the state unemployment insurance program.

AeA defines the high-tech industry as four sectors: high-tech manufacturing (semi-conductors, computers, etc.); software services (software vendors, SaaS providers, system architects, etc.); communications services (mostly telecom); and engineering and technical services (SI firms, R&D labs, etc.).

The data on national employment, unemployment, and venture capital investments are for 2006. The national and state wage, payroll, and establishment data are for 2005, as well as state rankings and state employment data, as a result of a nine month lag in the reporting of the data from BLS.

“This is the second year in a row that tech industry employment has added jobs. Not only do these jobs make critical contributions to the U.S. economy, but they also pay extremely well, said William Archey, AeA president and CEO in a statement.

“The average tech industry wage is 86% more than the average U.S. private sector wage. In fact, in 48 cyberstates the average high-tech wage is at least 50% more than the average private sector wage, and in 10 cyberstates this differential is over 90%.”

The average tech-industry wage is $75,500, said James.

Pros & Cons

But with the increase in opportunities, said Archey, companies of all sizes continue to have problems recruiting highly qualified and educated individuals to work for them, whether those individuals are foreign or domestic.