Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oregon’s High-Tech Employment Trends – What Is High Tech?

The high-tech industry is a crucial and dynamic piece of Oregon's economy. In 2013, private-sector employment was more than 83,000 and contributed over $8 billion in covered payroll to the state's workers and families.

But what exactly is high tech? The high-tech industry does not have one standard definition or official government code. Instead, it is a mix of service and manufacturing businesses from a variety of industries. The definition used here at the Oregon Employment Department includes 11 industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, software publishers, and data processing.

High tech accounts for 6 percent of all covered private-sector employment statewide. High-tech firms are found all over the state but are most concentrated in large metropolitan areas like Portland, Eugene, Medford, and Bend.

Broadly speaking, high-tech employment is disproportionately male. Males account for 70 percent of employment and females just 30 percent, compared with 53 percent and 47 percent respectively across all industries. This also reflects national trends.

High-tech workers are more likely to be of "prime working age," which is generally defined as ages 25 to 54. Seventy-six percent fall into this age group, compared with 66 percent of workers across all industries. 

At the industry level, average wages in high tech are some of the highest in the state. In 2013, its average wage was more than $96,000. During the past five years, average high-tech inflation-adjusted wages have grown by 8.2 percent, compared with 2.7 percent for all industries.

Looking at the industry's leading occupations, average wages are highest for architectural and engineering managers ($137,093), computer and information systems managers ($111,367), and systems software developers ($100,724). Wages are lowest for the industry's electrical and electronic equipment assemblers ($34,492), secretaries and administrative assistants ($34,810), and semiconductor processors ($34,882).

The Oregon Employment Department forecasts the high-tech industry will grow by 18 percent between 2012 and 2022, compared with 15 percent growth across all industries. The future is particularly promising for the industry's service sectors, where growth is expected to be even faster.

For more information about this growing, generally well-paying industry, check out Jill Cuyler-Crook's full article -- "Oregon’s High-Tech Employment Trends – What is High Tech?"

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