ASHEVILLE – From the beach to the mountains, tech talent is growing across North Carolina, a new study shows.

Between 2019 and 2022, Asheville has increased its technical talent by nearly 30 percent.

That’s the seventh fastest growth rate of any metropolitan statistical area in the country with more than 20,000 LinkedIn members and more than 1,000 identifiable tech workers, according to an analysis from LinkedIn that was published recently.

Charlotte and Wilmington rank 10th and 11th, respectively, with growth rates of 27.9% and 27.6%.

LinkedIn’s researchers analyzed more than 6 million profiles with “identifiable engineering or IT talent from January to May each year since 2019.”

As regions were ranked by their growth rates, “an approach that tends to showcase metros starting from a small base,” noted George Anders in a blog post sharing the analysis, more established markets aren’t included in the list.

Raleigh-Durham ranked 34th out of the 102 metros analyzed, a spokesperson for LinkedIn told WRAL TechWire.  Triangle-based companies are still hiring for technical roles, a bright spot in the current labor market in the region.

And there were more than 53,000 technology and IT openings across the state in April 2022, according to the most recent jobs report from NC TECH. A new report for May notes continuing strong demand.

Report: Tech workers still in high demand in NC, even as labor market overall expected to slow

Ashville seeing generational payoff

Asheville ranked among the top region in the country due to the city’s ecosystem, being a magnet for remote workers, and the culture, said Jeffrey Kaplan, the director of Venture Asheville, in a recent interview with WRAL TechWire.

“Asheville serves as the urban core of a very rural region,” said Kaplan.  “As the pandemic has forced the digital transformation of every aspect of life, a place like Asheville becomes very competitive, because the city is no longer bound by the geographic isolation that has been a part of its past.”

Kaplan is talking about the relocation of workers to the region because they’re no longer tied to a specific geography.  Many workers can now be fully remote, and the acceleration of that trend during the prior two years has seen Asheville gain talent.

“We keep being consistently ranked as the top location for remote workers,” said Kaplan.  “The migration of remote workers will have a generational payoff for our region.”

Tech talent demand remains strong in Triangle – here’s which companies are hiring

That’s because once remote workers are based in the region, when they leave their roles, they’re likely to do so for opportunities locally, said Kaplan.  Or, they’ll look to start their own business, he added.

And when they do, they’ll find a strong ecosystem for startups, as well.

Asheville also recently appeared ranked in the top 50 small cities in which to start a business, at 47th.

“It’s a really exciting time to be growing a business in Asheville,” said Kaplan.  “There are a lot of factors adding wind to the sails.”

Configo Health recently announced it would relocate to Asheville following raising $2 million.  Ecobot raised $2.8 million earlier this year with plans to expand and to hire workers.

Asheville’s Ecobot raises $2.8M to expand platform, add employees