RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – With high-tech workers making up more than 10 percent of the labor force, the metro areas of Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh rank among the top 15 metro areas for STEM employment, says a new study.
24/7 Wall St., a financial news site, says its data ranks Durham-Chapel Hill as No. 5 and Raleigh as No.8 for science, technology, engineering and math employment among metro areas were STEM-focused employment topped 9 percent of a region’s workforce.
The report comes just days after a Wall Street Journal analysis of jobs found Raleigh as the No. 6 “hottest” for jobs. And another report says that demand for high-tech talent is very strong in both Triangle metros.
Only metro areas in Maryland, Silicon Valley, Huntsville Alabama and Boulder Colorado ranked ahead of Durham-Chapel Hill’s 12.3 percent in the labor force working in STEM.
In sixth and seventh ahead of Raleigh are the Washington, D.C. metroplex and the Seattle area.
Raleigh’s workforce includes 10.8 percent STEM workers, the report says.
The report certainly reflects opinions shared by Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of engineering at N.C. State who disagreed with another study that questioned the region’s STEM environment. (That study was later revised after NCSU questioned the data utilized.)
“The reality is that Raleigh has been recognized in several studies as a great area for STEM professionals, and our college is one of the key reasons why,” he wrote in an article written for WRAL TechWire. “Each year, NC State Engineering produces more than 2,000 graduates who are ready to contribute to the state and national economy in a variety of fields.”
Based on a review of federal jobs data from 2017, 24/7 Wall St. notes that the average wage for STEM workers in Durham-Chapel Hill is $81,911 with the most common job being “natural science managers.” That would reflect the Triangle’s growing life science and biotech hubs, annually ranked as one of the nation’s largest, as well as its emergence as a cleantech cluster.
“The Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina is part of what is known as the Research Triangle. This area’s three major universities churn out thousands of STEM program graduates each year who, in turn, attract businesses looking to employ these workers,” the report notes.
“The area’s most common STEM job is natural sciences manager, or someone who supervises and manages scientific research and development. The region has hundreds of research companies specializing in fields such as life sciences, clean energy, and agriculture.”
In Raleigh, the data shows the average wage is $76,278 with “agricultural sciences teachers, postsecondary” being the most numerous. The presence of North Carolina State’s agriculture and tech programs, such as engineering, are among the best known in the country.
“The area surrounding and including North Carolina’s capital has become one of the nation’s top locations for high tech jobs,” 24/7 Wall St. notes.
“The city of Raleigh is home to software company Red Hat, and tech companies such as IBM and Cisco Systems employ thousands in the metro area. Additionally, the area is home to numerous bioscience companies that contribute to developments in health care, faster diagnostics, and sustainable food production.”
The top 15
Here’s the top 15 list:
- California-Lexington Park, Maryland
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Boulder, Colorado
- Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Austin-Round Rock, Texas
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Trenton, New Jersey
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado
Here’s how 24/7 Wall St. explained its methodology:
To identify the 15 cities with the most high-tech jobs, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) database for 2017 to find the cities with the highest percentage of total jobs that are classified as STEM-intensive. The most common STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — job in each MSA was the occupation with the highest location quotient — calculated as the occupation with the highest share in the local labor force relative to the national share — for that occupation. Average wages for STEM jobs and total employment were also derived from the OES data.