What’s New This Quarter
Well, here’s an interesting problem: Massachusetts has too many tech jobs and not enough tech pros to fill them. According to a March report from the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, there are 17 open tech-related jobs for every qualified recent graduate.
From 2010 to 2013, Massachusetts technology companies created about 17,650 new jobs, leading to a statewide total of 214,650 technology jobs (up from 197,000 five years ago). Employment in the state’s information sector has surged 8.5 percent over the past year, far outpacing overall job growth of 1.8 percent. “Creating jobs isn’t the hard part for the tech sector right now. It’s filling them,” Tom Hopcroft, head of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, said in an interview with the Boston Globe earlier this year.
“The demand for qualified talent far exceeds the supply, so we’ve seen the employment environment become increasingly more competitive,” said Matt Conley, managing director, Boston, for recruiter Randstad Technologies. “Our pharma/biotech markets are continuing to grow and thrive, and financial services companies are rapidly rebuilding their once depleted IT departments, both of which have contributed to the decreased unemployment rate, which is now down to 4.9 percent statewide.”
Cambridge-based Akamai Technologies may have made the hiring problem worse by announcing it could hire 1,000 employees this year, bringing its total global headcount to 6,000. Akamai told the Boston Business Journal that it’s focusing on its Products Business Unit, where it needs systems software engineers, architect engineers, and product management directors.
Statewide, nearly one in 10 Massachusetts workers is employed in fields such as software, telecommunications, and technology manufacturing, making the state’s labor force the techiest in the nation, according to CompTIA’s 2015 Cyberstates report.
“Our state has the highest concentration of tech industry workers in the nation,” said Kevin Callahan, director of State Government Affairs for TechAmerica. “Tech is a major component of our economy actively, accounting for nearly 11 percent of the state GDP and 19 percent of the private sector payroll. Tech continues to be attracted to Massachusetts because of our world class research universities and a K-12 system that consistently is top in the nation in educating our children.”
Other local firms with hiring plans:
- Quincy-based telecom provider Granite Telecommunications hopes to double its current workforce of 1,324 over the next four years.
- Fiksu plans to nearly double its workforce this year to 500. The mobile-app marketing software firm will hire 120 people at its Boston headquarters.
- Westborough-based SimpliVity will double its headcount to 800 as demand surges for its IT appliance system for data centers.
- Amazon continues to work on its Echo tabletop device. Its Cambridge R&D group is working on the product’s speech recognition capabilities.
On the downside, EMC, the Boston-area tech giant, is in the midst of a restructuring that will result in an unspecified number of job cuts, most of which may have already occurred by the end of the first quarter.
Meanwhile, if you want to start your kids on the tech track, check out Cambridge-based Leangap, the first high school entrepreneurship accelerator program in the world that helps students ages 14 to 18 conceptualize and launch their businesses in six weeks. Launching this summer under the management of 17-year-old Eddie Zhong (a high school dropout), Leangap will accept 40 students in its first phase.
Skills in Demand
“Negative unemployment can be seen in some of the hottest areas of tech employment, from development and ERP/CRM applications to Big Data analytics,” said Darrin Lang, CEO of consulting firm LABUR. “Project managers and business analysts continue to be a hot profile in most industries, but hottest in financial services, insurance, biotech and medical devices. Pay rates are increasing, but there’s some resistance. We see this as a continued push and pull for the next one to three years.”
“In the last six months, we’ve also seen a significant increase in the number open positions for project managers, business analysts, and quality engineers,” added Randstad Technologies’ Conley. “This positive trend is great to see because the development life cycle shows that more projects are being tested and completed, while many more are just getting started.”
According to the Cyberstates report, Massachusetts tech industry workers earned an average wage of $121,000 in 2014, ranking second in the nation and 94 percent more than Massachusetts’s average private-sector wage. That’s why tech-sector employers are responsible for almost a fifth of the wages paid out to Massachusetts workers last year.
According to the 2015 Dice Salary Survey Report, the average salary for a Boston-based IT professional is $97,288, up 2.9 percent from the previous year, 8.7 percent above the national average of $89,450, and the fourth highest average salary nationwide. (It was fifth last year.)
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Local Employment and Research Resources
- Beta Boston
- Boston Business Journal
- Boston Globe Technology
- Boston Tech Cocktail
- Boston VentureBeat
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Boston Tech
- Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council
- Xconomy Boston
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