March 30, 2017

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Your next high-paid tech job may be in these cities

By
Jon Swartz
USA Today

(This article originally appeared on USA Today on March 30)

Start-ups are heading to the heartland and South.

Those are among the most-popular destinations in a job climate teeming with unfilled positions, according to a report from TechNet and Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) issued today.

Emerging tech hubs — the so-called Next in Tech cities — are setting up shop in Provo, Utah; Nashville, New Orleans, Cleveland, Denver and Charleston, S.C. The irresistible lure of a lower-cost of living and talent pools fed by nearby colleges help. But in the case of several cities, such as Detroit (Internet of Things, connected cars) and Nashville (health care), local industries and existing infrastructure are the real carrots.

The payoff could be enormous: If lawmakers find the right mix of regulatory policy, improved access to talent and greater access to capital in these fledgling cities, it might lead to 1 million additional new jobs, according to the study. 

"I was surprised by cities in the Midwest that made the list," says Michael Mandel of PPI, who conducted the study. E-commerce contributed to job creation in Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky among companies large and small, he said.

“Start-up culture began in the garages of Silicon Valley, but has spread nationally,” says Linda Moore, CEO of TechNet, a bipartisan network of tech executives. "The best, most productive way to create jobs is to foster start-ups in those regions."

Dynamic tech start-ups just create jobs at a faster pace," she says. In 2014, companies in their first five years created 2.2 million jobs; those older than five years created only 450,000 jobs, she says.

By any measure, the tech sector is booming. There are more than 500,000 open computing jobs nationwide, according to Code.org. A report due Monday from CompTIA on the state of the tech sector is expected to echo that number.

Related:

Businesses say they just can't find the right tech workers

That should bring a smile to President Trump, who has pinned the success of his administration to creating jobs in hard-hit economic pockets in the Midwest and South.

Those areas are hurting, too, when it comes to tech job postings and salary, according to research exclusively provided to USA TODAY by Paysa, a career advice website. Just 6% of job postings for tech jobs nationwide were in the Midwest, followed by the South (24%). Annual salaries were lowest in the Midwest ($76,999) and South ($84,414), Paysa determined, based on more than 1 million job postings in the U.S. in the first three months of this year.

"I was surprised the numbers in the Midwest weren't higher," Paysa CEO Chris Bolte says. "But we're starting to see that change as companies de-locate to cities such as Detroit and Austin where there is talent and a good cost of living and lifestyle."

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