RALEIGH – Demand for workers to fill technology roles at North Carolina firms increased by 43% year-over-year, according to the latest IT Job Trends report from the North Carolina Technology Association, NC TECH.

The number of open technology positions in October 2021 was 45,020, compared to 31,384 openings in October 2020, the report found.

That’s a new high, according to Brooks Raiford, CEO of NC TECH.

“IT job openings in October reached a new high, with all regions of the state seeing strong growth year over year,” said Raiford.  “The strongest growth was in areas in Eastern North Carolina,” he added.

For example, the number of openings in Goldsboro increased by 697% and the number of openings in New Bern increased by 253% year-over-year.

Tech job openings across NC surge 40% as COVID drives more digital adoption

That’s not to say there weren’t an abundance of technology roles open in North Carolina’s major metropolitan markets, as the Charlotte area had 15,939 openings and the Triangle had 18,516 openings in October, the report shows.  In terms of percentage increase, the Charlotte area saw an increase in job openings of 44%, Raleigh openings increased by 40%, and openings in the Durham-Chapel Hill market increased by 36%.  Wilmington saw only a 6% increase, the smallest of any region tracked in the report.

Image: NC TECH. 2021 IT Job Trends Report, Oct. 2021.

According to the report, the most in-demand roles include:

  • Software Developers
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Network + Computer Systems Administrators
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Computer + Information Systems Managers
  • Computer User Support Specialists
  • Web Developers
  • Computer Programmers
  • Database Administrators
  • Computer Network Architects

It’s the first time that computer user support specialist roles has been in the top 10 occupations most in-demand this year, the report’s summary noted.

“Considering the increased focus on user experience and engagement, businesses are prioritizing user-centered strategies in technology to ensure adoption by both external and internal users,” the report reads.  “Also, had businesses implement new digital strategies and technologies, roles such as this one will only grow as a means for accommodating training and change management efforts to acclimate users to new systems and processes.”

Even with declining unemployment rate, plenty of jobs available in the Triangle right now

In terms of skills, analysis, testing, and agile remain at the top of in-demand skills, the report found.  That’s in line with trends in business and technology, the summary reads, as “organizations of every size and type are rapidly iterating and implementing new technologies and capabilities to meet evolving demands by visitors, consumers, shoppers, and more.”

When demand is high, potential workers may have more choice and more negotiating power, John Quinterno, a professor at Duke University and the founder and principal of South by North Strategies Ltd., a research consultancy specializing in economic and social policy, told WRAL TechWire in October.

“Since the late 1970s, the balance of power between workers and firms has swung overwhelmingly in favor of employers, with a short exception in the late 1990s,” said Quinterno.  “For the first time in two generations, the balance has shifted back somewhat in the favor of workers.”

The NC TECH report found that 72% of employees working in technology roles have considered or are considering leaving their current job during the next 12 months.  But 91% of workers also desire additional training from their existing employer, the report found.