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15 Cities Where STEM Jobs are on the Rise

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on May 17, 2019 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, Job Trends, Job Search Tips, IT, Candidate

As more industries rely on technology for a competitive edge and staying power, it is no surprise that the job market in the U.S. has seen an increase in positions in the tech realm. Specifically, there is a need for people in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

Not only are STEM positions necessary for progressing in technological advancements, but they pay quite well and offer job security. Jobs in the STEM field usually pay much more than those not in the industry. This goes for anyone employed in the field, regardless of how far they have taken their education.

Tech Hubs Rooted in AI

There are a number of areas in the U.S. and around the world that have made names for themselves as tech hubs. Silicon Valley in California’s San Francisco Bay Area is one among them. It is known for being the home of many prominent tech companies, including Google and Apple. 24/7 Wall Street determined that there are 15 cities in the U.S. with the most high-tech jobs by looking at the metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level data, which they took from the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) database. Each city was found to have almost 10 percent of its workforce employed in positions in the STEM field.

The focus of many jobs in these tech cities is on artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Much of the work this industry is doing could eventually take the place of American workers. In fact, tens of millions of people could potentially lose their jobs due to these advancements in technology. Until that point comes, companies are hiring for a multitude of positions in the STEM fields, and there is no sign of the growth slowing down.

Who Are Taking These Jobs?

With such great benefits for candidates and the unlimited potential of the industries, college graduates are catching onto the appeal of STEM areas as career paths. Many high-tech companies have chosen to open up large office spaces in college towns, which is a great strategy for attracting young minds to their organizations. Many hiring managers do pull from graduates freshly out of the local universities. For graduates, the companies are top of mind, and for tech companies, the graduates are the lowest hanging fruit with a good education.

Below are the 15 cities and their statistics based on the data from the OES database.

15. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

Total Number of Workers: 1,443,130

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 9.2%

Average Median Salary: $81,672

The total number of workers in this area is over 1.4 million and 9.2 percent of them are employed in of the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. In this particular geographical region, many of the STEM workers are mining and geological engineers. It is also home to large companies in the healthcare and telecommunications industries, such as Kaiser Permanente and Dish Networks. The median salary is over $81,000.

14. Trenton, New Jersey

Total Number of Workers: 229,450

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 9.3%

Average Median Salary: $89,623

The total number of workers in the Trenton metropolitan area is nearly 230,000 and 9.3 percent of that number work in the STEM fields. The most common occupation is a chemist, and the average median salary is just under $90,000. Since Trenton is in fairly close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia and it costs significantly less to operate a business out of Trenton, the area is attractive to new tech companies. Valuable business opportunities can be pulled from the surrounding metropolitan areas. Additionally, the city and state of New Jersey offer incentives to those companies who are willing to relocate to Trenton. In 2017, Maestro Technologies were approved $17 million in tax credits by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to move their business to the area.

13. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Total Number of Workers: 213,990

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 9.5%

Average Median Salary: $75,339

There are almost 214,000 workers in Ann Arbor, and 9.5 percent of them work in STEM industries. The most common jobs are technicians in life science, physical science, and social science. The median salary is over $75,000. It’s no surprise that this area is home to many STEM jobs, as the University of Michigan has one of the top engineering programs in the U.S. Local tech companies have a deep candidate pool of new graduates each year looking to get a food in the STEM door.

12. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida

Total Number of Workers: 206,760

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 9.9%

Average Median Salary: $78,031

The total number of workers in this area is almost 207,000, and just under 10 percent of them hold STEM-related positions. Since NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center is located in the area, it would make sense that the most common STEM positions are centered on aerospace engineering and operations. The median salary is approximately $78,000. Additionally, Palm Bay’s Economic Development and External Affairs Division were created in 2015 to support the rapid growth of the tech industry in the area.

11. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

Total Number of Workers: 2,369,450

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 10.2%

Average Median Salary: $96,660

There are over 2.3 million workers in this area, and over 10 percent of them hold positions in the STEM industry. Specifically, many of them work in biological science as researchers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and lab workers. The median salary is close to $97,000. Since many big players in the tech market, such as Twitter and Salesforce, are it is not hard to believe that so many people in the workforce have a STEM job.

10. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts

Total Number of Workers: 2,726,490

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 10.4%

Average Median Salary: $87,432

There are over 2.7 million people in the workforce in this area, and 10.4 percent of them hold STEM positions. The most common occupations are biochemists and biophysicists. The average median salary is over $87,000. This area is mainly known for its universities (i.e., Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), etc.). In addition, the area has become the home of a number of major companies, including Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft.

9. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Total Number of Workers: 996,540

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 10.6%

Average Median Salary: $79,665

Out of the nearly 1 million of those employed in this area, 10.6 percent of workers are in STEM fields. The most common job is a materials scientist. A materials scientist is someone who analyzes the interaction between substances. Many times, the analysis helps in testing manufactured goods for the level of quality. While the median STEM salary in this region is close to $80,000, a materials scientist could make upwards of $140K annually. Dell and IBM both have large campuses in Austin with about 6,000 employees each.

8. Raleigh, North Carolina

Total Number of Workers: 1,944,160

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 11%

Average Median Salary: $82,793

With about 606,000 people in the workforce in Raleigh, 10.6 percent of them are employed in STEM fields. Many of these jobs are focused on the agricultural sciences, and the median salary is over $76,000. Raleigh and the surrounding areas house a number of companies in the bioscience realm; these companies are centered on developing advancements in healthcare and sustainable food production. Some tech companies have also made the area their homes, such as Red Hat, Cisco Systems, and IBM.

7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

Total Number of Workers: 1,944,160

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 11%

Average Median Salary: $82,793

There are almost 2 million people currently employed in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, and almost one in nine of them have a position in a STEM field. The most common jobs are in software and application development, totaling close to 50,000 developers in the area. Companies, such as Microsoft and Amazon, have made a home in this Pacific Northwest tech hub and it has only continued to grow.

6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia

Total Number of Workers: 3,103,530

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 11.7%

Average Median Salary: $93,481

There are over 3 million workers in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria region, and with 11.7% of them in a STEM field, it has the second largest number of STEM workers. The first largest is in the New York City area. Since the Washington, D.C. area has the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, it is no wonder that the area’s most common job is in the biotech industry.

5. Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Total Number of Workers: 298,540

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 12.3%

Average Median Salary: $81,911

With nearly 300,000 workers in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, the amount of positions taken in a STEM field is at 12.3 percent. Many of these jobs are in the natural sciences industries, such as a natural sciences manager. A natural sciences manager oversees scientific research and development. The area, which is a part of what has become known as the Research Triangle, has many research companies in operation and they specialize in the life sciences, agriculture, and clean energy fields.

4. Boulder, Colorado

Total Number of Workers: 178,460

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 15.7%

Average Median Salary: $86,609

The Boulder metro area has almost 180,000 in the workforce, with 15.7 percent of the positions falling within a STEM field. The area is home to the University of Colorado, as well as major tech companies, including Google and Amazon. That said, the most common job in the region is a physicist. The average median salary is over $86,000.

3. Huntsville, Alabama

Total Number of Workers: 222,080

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 15.7%

Average Median Salary: $80,483

There are over 222,000 people in the workforce in the Huntsville area, and 15.7% of them are working in STEM positions. The median salary is over $80,00, and the most common job is an aerospace engineer. In fact, there are almost 4,000 aerospace engineers in the area, which is home to companies, like Boeing and Blue Origin. With quite the history in aerospace, NASA’s Saturn V was built in Huntsville back in the 1960s.

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California

Total Number of Workers: 1,089,070

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 20.1%

Average Median Salary: $99,422

There are over 1 million workers in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area. Of that number, 20 percent of the workforce holds a STEM position, which equates to more than one in five workers. As Silicon Valley is a part of this region, the high percentage of tech jobs is not a complete surprise. The most common job in the area is a computer hardware engineer, which makes sense, given that it is home to tech giants, Google and Apple. It was also found that over 50% of the workforce in San Jose has a college degree, which attributes to the higher paying jobs. The average median salary is just under $100,000.

1. California-Lexington Park, Maryland

Total Number of Workers: 45,460

Percentage of Total Workers in STEM Positions: 24.8%

Average Median Salary: $102,826

The California-Lexington Park area in Maryland has over 45,000 people in the workforce and almost a quarter of them are employed in a STEM field. It also has the highest median salary at almost $103,000. Since the area is close to Washington, D.C., it makes sense that there is a great number of defense contractors working there and the most common job is an aerospace engineer. Big employers located in this region are Boeing, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman.

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