CHARLOTTE – Employers continue to invest resources to either expand or open new offices in the Charlotte region, and a lot of those investments are in technology or logistics, found a report from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

“Technology jobs have grown rapidly in Charlotte over the past five years as corporate headquarters and financial operations use new technologies to protect consumer data and find new ways to enhance customer experience,” reads the report.

And there are many open jobs. According to the NC Technology Association, in August there were more than 10,000 open IT jpbs across the region, up nearly 11 percent year-over-year.

Earlier this year, Lowe’s announced a new technology hub in the city, with 1,600 new jobs and the relocation of hundreds of other jobs from the company’s headquarters in Mooresville, 25 miles north of the city.  And even startups, like data analytics firm Tresata, which announced it would create 50 new jobs, are driving growth in Charlotte’s tech talent pool.

A rendering of the new Lowes office space in Charlotte. (Lowes image)

Since 2013, the total number of tech jobs in the region grew by 30%—double the rate of the United States—and the region added 117,694 jobs within the past five years, the analysis from the Alliance found.  Through the first two quarters of 2019—the Q3 report has not yet been released—the Alliance tracked 38 expansions or new office announcements, corresponding to more than 4,300 jobs announced and nearly $350 million in investment into the region.  In total, there have been more than 13,000 new net jobs in the region through June 30, 2019.

Technology hiring is increasing at a rate of 4 percent, the report found.

“The demographic of tech workers is changing,” said Paden Simmons, Senior Vice President at Frank Recruitment Group, which recently announced expansion plans to open an office on Trade Street in Charlotte.  The international firm is investing $1 million in their expansion—Simmons anticipates as many as 40 new jobs with the group in the first few months of opening the office, who will work with candidates and clients to find and place talent in contract, temporary, and permanent positions.

IT staffing giant Frank Recruitment to open Charlotte office, creating 90 jobs

“Charlotte’s established itself as a tech hub within the last decade, and the industry is rapidly expanding across the city,” said Simmons, who will oversee the expansion into Charlotte.  “When you look at the size of some of the companies moving here, it was a no-brainer to join.”

What talent seeks

The company launched in 2006 in the United Kingdom with three employees.  In addition to opening an office in Charlotte, the firm is opening offices in Chicago and Tokyo.  Specializing in technology recruiting, with a particular interest in cloud computing, Frank Recruitment Group regularly reported year-over-year growth of 40 percent and was acquired by TPG Growth in April of 2016.

“Companies are moving their data into the cloud,” said Simmons.  “Companies want highly skilled professionals, so I think the demand for AWS and Microsoft Azure workers will be a major area of growth in the coming years.”

But there are no secrets in talent acquisition, claims Simmons.  “People want to work for companies that share their outlook, from diversity to their ethical output.”

“The new generation of worker is making a much more informed decision on where to work than just who is offering the highest salary or best benefits package,” said Simmons.  That’s one of the reasons he’s bullish on Charlotte (he also attended the University of South Carolina). “It’s a vibrant place and people want to come here, and we have some great employers who are incredibly attractive to professionals.”

Beyond the typical search

“The skills gap in technology has forced employers’ hands and they’ve had to look beyond the traditional talent pools,” said Simmons.  The result is that employers, in a tight talent market, are searching for people with different backgrounds and are actively searching for talent within communities that have historically been under-represented, he said.

In the United States, the firm has invested resources to recruit veterans to provide them with a way into private sector work, said Simmons.  “It’s been a fantastic way to attract candidates who may not be trained in the technologies we recruit for, but are used to working in very high-pressure situations and have the sort of soft skills that are much more difficult to teach,” he said.

The firm assists the expansion of the talent market in the regions in which their offices are based through structuring and operating Tech Academies, a program that recruits and trains candidates, who can then earn job placement with new or existing clients.

Recruitment hasn’t changed much in the whole of human history, said Simmons.  “It didn’t need to be reinvented, it just needed someone to do it better.”

Good news for tech job seekers: Openings surge across NC with 13,000 in Triangle