CompTIA Dives Deep Into U.S. Tech Sector Employment

U.S. IT employment concept globe

First things first: The new Cyberstates 2017 report compiled by IT industry association CompTIA is MASSIVE, coming in at 135 pages in my PDF viewer. That's a veritable mountain of data about IT employment in the United States. If you want to dig in, then be prepared to devote some time to doing so, because it takes a while even just to flip through its voluminous content.


Those with only casual interest in the topic may prefer the Cyberstates Tool instead: It's an interactive front-end to the data compiled in the afore-cited report. Users can fiddle around and explore the topics that interest them, while blithely ignoring what doesn't.


Either way, though, there's a LOT of fascinating stuff in here. Enough, in fact, that I can't do justice to the breadth and scope of its coverage in a single blog post.


Today, therefore, I'm going to flesh out some coverage elements that are of particular interest to the overall tech sector employment situation in the United States. CompTIA has done an excellent job of laying that out in the early pages of the report — and making that same information accessible state-by-state in the tool as well.


Components of the Tech Workforce Discussion


Starting on page 5 of the Cyberstates report, CompTIA Launches into an analysis of the tech workforce in the United States. I'm going to summarize that discussion here, because it does as good a job of explaining what working in tech means. Also because the discussion is as involved as anything else I know about, online or in print.


Here's a bulleted summary of that discussion, which serves as the meat for this week's blog post, along with some illustrative figures:


? Two components make up the bulk of the tech sector workforce: First, tech sector employment encompasses all workers employed at tech companies, including both technical and supporting positions. Second, tech occupation employment includes technology professionals employed at other organizations that run the gamut from banks and hospitals to utility companies and retail outlets.
? According to CompTIA, "the tech sector is the largest employer of tech occupations" (pg. 6).


Here's a Venn Diagram that shows how this plays out with current numbers. For context, these numbers dwarf what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Service reports on as constituting the "Information" sector, which currently stands at just under 2.9 million workers:


Ed T Figure 1 April 14 2016

Source: Cyberstates 2017 by CompTIA


Diving deeper into the report, we find the following:


? For 2016, the number of net new jobs added by the tech industry was 182,220, primarily because of the nearly 109,000 jobs added to the IT services and custom software services category.
? The average annual wages for U.S. tech industry workers in 2016 was $108,900, which is more than twice the average national wage of $53,310 for the same year.
? There were 626,560 postings for tech occupation jobs during the fourth quarter of 2016 alone.
? In 2016, there were just under half a million "tech business establishments" (492,550, to be more specific) in the United States.
? The report estimates the direct contribution of the tech industry to the U.S. economy at 7.5 percent, or $1.3 trillion (that puts the size of the entire economy, or GDP, at $17.33 trillion for 2016).
? The number of tech patents granted in 2015 (the most recently available year for patent data) was 52,434.
? Tech employment is the biggest sector vis-�-vis employment in other sectors across the board.


Here is CompTIA's bar chart for the top five sectors, showing overall percentages for 2015 and 2016, which shows that tech occupations are bigger than construction (No. 2), finance and insurance (No. 3), transportation and warehousing (No. 4), and arts, entertainment and recreation (No. 5):


Ed T Figure 2 April 14 2016

Source: Cyberstates 2017 by CompTIA


Here are some further observations:


? The number of tech startups and new tech business establishments grew by 36,508 in 2015, for annual growth of 12 percent. The biggest gains inside this number come from firms delivering IT services (13 percent) and data processing, hosting, web search portals and related services (79 percent!).
? Tech sector businesses comprise 5.1 percent of all business establishments in the United States, and 5.3 percent of private sector establishments. As with the rest of the economy, such establishments include a large number of small businesses, and a small number of large ones.
? California's economy by itself equals that of the bottom 25 states. It's also 46 percent bigger by population and 49 percent bigger by economic output than No. 2 state, Texas. Unsurprisingly, it experience the biggest growth in tech jobs in 2016 as well with 48,600 jobs added that year.


Other states with notable gains in tech sector employment for 2016 include New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Michigan. The biggest losers on the tech job front for 2016 were: Delaware, Kansas, Iowa, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The top three states by percentage of the overall workforce for tech sector workers are Massachusetts (8.7 percent), Colorado (7.8 percent), and Virginia (7.7 percent).


There's a great deal more worth reading and pondering in the report, and checking out by state and metropolitan area in the interactive tool. Be sure to dig into both or either of them, if you're so inclined.


If not, expect to hear more from me on this topic in upcoming posts! I plan to return for more in May, and perhaps again in June.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.