While many industries continue to experience a worker shortage, in the past few years the technology field in Wilmington has seen an increase in talent, as revealed in a recent LinkedIn workforce report.
The report found that Wilmington ranks No.11 in the U.S. with 27.6% in growth in tech talent from 2019 to 2022, joining other North Carolina cities including Asheville, at No. 7 with 29.7% growth, and Charlotte at No.10 with 27.9%.
LinkedIn called these ranking cities the country’s newest tech hubs and explained that looking at growth year-over-year shows trends for less obvious, yet prominent locations for a tech workforce.
“This ranking focuses on the fastest three-year growth rates — an approach that tends to showcase metros starting from a small base. It gives less prominence (or none at all) to long-established tech hubs with deep talent pools but slower growth rates. That explains why Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area aren’t on this list,” the report stated.
For the workforce report, LinkedIn researchers looked at data from more than 6 million LinkedIn members with engineering or IT talent and the ranking reflects metro areas with at least 20,000 LinkedIn members.
Usually, more commonly known tech hubs are typically connected to an elite university such as MIT in Boston and Stanford in the Silicon Valley due to graduates sticking around and building tech startups. However, the report noted it seems that this is no longer the only factor driving tech hubs as the areas with most of the growth in the past year, with San Diego leading the pack, are in sunbelt metro areas.
What seems to be driving this growth, according to LinkedIn, is tech roles in different sectors that are not exclusive to software engineering, including information technology skills in mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical and bioengineering.
Plus, there has been a growth in skills derived from certifications and not just from full college degrees. Cape Fear Community College this year launched a software development foundations course that provides specific training catering to Wilmington employers. The college worked with representatives from Apiture, Grover Gaming, Live Oak Bank, nCino and opiAID who served on an information technology advisory committee.
While the college offers diplomas and degrees in fields such as information technology, the program is part of the college’s economic and workforce development division providing short-term job training to help people get good-paying jobs and meet the needs of employers.
With this increase in talent, there is also an increase in tech job opportunities. According to the latest IT job trends report from N.C. Tech Association, there were a total of 57,182 job postings in the state in May, up 60% from May 2021.
During May, Wilmington had 541 job openings in information technology, up 67% from May last year.
The report shows that some on-demand credentials from job listings include certified info systems security professional, security clearance, secret security clearance, certified scrum master and certified information systems auditor.
The top ten employers for tech talent in the state include Deloitte, General Dynamics Information Technology, Oracle, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Bank of America, KPMG, Accenture and Ernst & Young.
Another noteworthy local tech job trend shows that some of the most prominent tech companies are hiring local graduates. UK-based TonerGiant looked at where employees from big tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft went to college and found that more than 7,000 graduates from North Carolina universities work at a major tech company.
North Carolina ranks 16th in a list of states with the most alumni working at a major tech company, with most receiving their degrees from Duke University. The University of North Carolina Wilmington ranks as the No.3 university in the state with graduates working at big tech companies with an estimated 554 alumni employees.
When further broken down, numbers show that Google and Amazon have hired more alumni from North Carolina universities compared to other tech giants.
There have also been more efforts to promote diversity in the workplace with the N.C. Tech Association launching a Diversity Benchmark Initiative this year to help define a baseline of how tech and tech-enabled companies are faring in diversity, equity and inclusion. The initiative, in partnership with 12 tech companies, will provide a broad picture of how companies are doing on different benchmarks.