VCs Helping Chicago’s Tech Sector Grow

What’s New This Quarter

Some 155 Chicago tech companies raked in $1.6 billion in tech investments in 2014, according to Built In Chicago. That’s in addition to 34 area companies exiting to the tune of $7 billion, and a number of tech startups enjoying increased funding.

“Historically, the coasts have been popular hubs for tech and analytics jobs. However, with many top engineering programs in the Midwest, many tech companies based on the West and East Coasts are opening up offices in Chicago,” Sarah Doll, Enova’s senior director of talent management, told Chicago Inno.

Check out the latest tech jobs in Chicago.

Illinois’s tech industry employed 227,700 people in 2014, making it the state with the eighth most tech workers in the nation, according to CompTIA’s “Cyberstates” 2015 report. “The tech industry is a major contributor to the state of Illinois,” said Alexi Madon, director of state government affairs for TechAmerica. “We have a strong manufacturing cluster, ranking third in communications equipment, fourth in electronics components, fifth in communication equipment, and eighth in measuring and control instruments manufacturing.”

If there’s any bad news out there these days, it’s coming out of Motorola, which continues to fade. While the company still has 15,000 employees worldwide and 3,500 in Illinois, that’s one-tenth of its headcount 15 years ago. One glimmer of hope on the local mobile scene is Iris Mobile, founded by former Motorola technologists, which plans to double its staff to 60 this year.

In Chicago proper, Yelp just opened its new, 400-employee office in the downtown Merchandise Mart.

Skills in Demand

“When it comes to the IT market, currently the toughest candidates to source are developers,” Dan Miller, manager of Business Development at the Addison Group, told Chicago Inno. “Specifically, it is more difficult to find candidates that work with the more cutting-edge technology such as Ruby, Python, and JavaScript. Since most companies don’t have the time or resources to train developers, it can be difficult to source candidates that can work with these technologies right out of the gate.” Local recruiters also note demand for QA automation, security, and project management.

According to IT recruiting firm Robert Half Technology, 60 percent of Chicago technology executives surveyed said that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand within their IT departments, followed by database management and Windows administration.

Salary Trends

According to the “Cyberstates” report, tech industry workers statewide in Illinois earned an average wage of $91,800 (ranked 16th in the nation), 75 percent more than Illinois’s average private-sector wage. 

According to the 2015 Dice Salary Survey Report, the average salary for a Chicago IT professional is $88,866, up 2.6 percent from the previous year but still a bit below the national average of $89,450. Chicago salaries rank 19th among cities surveyed by Dice.

Leading Industries

  • Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • Transportation
  • Biotech/Science

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2 Responses to “VCs Helping Chicago’s Tech Sector Grow”

  1. 2 things….

    I could give a crap less about phony statistics from a bottom feeding agency like Robert Half. Second, I’d really like to know why IT salary statistics only ever seem to survey the 5% of the field that’s making any money. Everyone I’ve ever met is lucky to crack 50K.

    • Fred Bosick

      This my observation as well, the exception being managers.

      Take a look at job postings offered by Robert Half and you’ll understand the corporate name. They only pay half of what the job should demand.