Hiring Momentum Propels Tech Workforce Towards 12.4 Million, CompTIA State of the Market Analysis Finds

245,000 new jobs projected for 2021 with net tech employment gains spanning 48 states

The U.S. information technology (IT) industry and workforce will continue its transition from stability during a difficult period to growth acceleration, according to the newly released annual Cyberstates report from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

On the technology industry side, all five top level employment categories are expected to add workers in 2021. The IT services and custom software services category will lead the way with over 100,000 net new hires. A portion of these gains can be attributed to the recovering small and medium-size business market, where sectors that were especially hard hit by the pandemic are restarting technology projects previously on hold.

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The software category, including software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, is projected to grow its workforce at slightly over 5% in the year ahead, leading all categories on a percent change basis. The categories of tech manufacturing, including semiconductors, telecommunications and internet services, and R&D, testing, and engineering services are expected to expand their workforces in the 1%-2% range.

The technology occupation side of the equation, encompassing technology professionals employed across all industry sectors, will be driven be further advances in digital transformation efforts. Hiring activity will be especially strong in cybersecurity (+4.4%), data science and analytics (+4.4%), software development (+3.7%), and a range of cloud infrastructure and support positions, such as IT support specialists (+2.2%). By year’s end, the base of infrastructure-related IT positions will reach nearly 1.4 million workers, the foundation underpinning fast-growing emerging technologies.

“As we look ahead to a rapidly evolving future of work and the ever-expanding digital economy, both immense opportunity and challenges loom,” Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “Cyberstates confirms the importance of building resilient workforces and businesses through skills development, robust and secure digital infrastructure, and innovation-minded leadership.” 

Technology’s Widespread Impact

Cyberstates projects growth in net tech employment across 48 states this year, a function of the pervasive use of technology across industry sectors, business functions, and firms of all sizes. Among the 51 metro areas covered in the report 49 are expected to grow their tech workforces, accounting for nearly two-thirds of aggregate tech job gains across the nation.

The 585,000 tech business establishments spanning the large vendors and telcos to the small managed services providers and IT services firms generated $2 trillion in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy. This translates to over 10% of the overall U.S. economy, making technology one of the largest contributors to economic growth.

Another facet of economic impact stems from wages and the multiplier effect of career earnings with an upward trajectory. The median tech occupation wage across the job categories tracked in Cyberstates stands at nearly $87,000, 89% higher than the overall median national wage. Earnings for tech workers with specialty expertise or in high-demand areas will be significantly higher at the at the 75th and 90th percentiles, which translates to more spending flowing back into lower economies.

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Tech Workforce Characteristics and the Need to Expand and Diversify the Pipeline

During the past year, U.S. employers utilized 3.9 million job postings in their efforts to hire tech talent ranging from entry level help desk personnel to senior-level artificial intelligence architects. As of February 2021 the unemployment rate for technology occupations was 2.4%, signaling a return of employer demand routinely exceeding the supply of labor in certain regions and tech job roles.

Expanding and diversifying the tech workforce is a critical step in meeting the workforce need and addressing inequities that have persisted for too long. The Diversity Index published for the first time in this year’s Cyberstates report finds the tech workforce is nearly identical in composition to the overall national workforce across the seven race and ethnic groups covered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. States and metro areas in the top quartile have tech workforce diversity profiles significantly higher. Cyberstates provides further context through relative comparisons. This provides important insight specific to the workforce composition of states and metro areas.

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