RALEIGH – Technology jobs across North Carolina are surging – not just in the Triangle or Charlotte metro areas – as the drive to digitize businesses and enable employees to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic picks up more momentum.
So says a new jobs report from the NC Technology Association and an analysis of the latest numbers from Dr. Mike Walden, an economist emeritus from N.C. State.
“IT job openings continue to increase this summer, and are markedly higher than the same period a year ago,” said Brooks Raiford, CEO of NC TECH, a pro-business advocacy group in Raleigh. “Openings are up in every region of the state.”
Asked what’s happening, Raiford says it’s business demands.
“Companies dramatically slowed or halted hiring last summer when there was a lot of uncertainty about economic impact of the pandemic; as the vaccine approval and rollout occurred over the winter, hiring began to climb,” Raifoed explains. “I talk to CEOs and hiring managers regularly, both in the tech sector and in companies generally that need high-skilled workers, and they seem to be hiring rapidly due to business demand.
“So the overall economic momentum seems to be the fundamental driver, not to mention the increasing dependence on technology to adapt to the remote worker / hybrid workplace model.”
The monthly IT Job Trends report for July reports an overall 40% increase in openings from July 2020. The total of 40,576 statewide is 42% higher year over year with openings jumping at least 16% and as high as 113% across the 15 largest metro areas.
The NC TECH numbers reflect a continuing surge in hiring across tech, healthcare and other sectors of the Triangle economy as noted today in WRAL TechWire’s weekly Jobs Report.
In fact, the number of NC open positions is the highest since the 33,067 posted in March 2019 and three of the previous four reports this year as the economy continued its recovery.
Just as the pandemic struck in March 2020, openings were 31,345. The lowest since then was just under 23,000 in May of last year.
Walden says he’s not surprised by the jobs surge.
“One of the lasting impacts of the pandemic was to accelerate growth in the tech sector,” he tells WRAL TechWire. “During the pandemic, many looked to technology as a way to continue conducting business while at the same time avoiding personal contact.
“Remote work, remote access to services, and remote delivery of products all expanded during the last 18 months,” he adds. “There’s expectation this expansion will continue, even once the pandemic has receded.”
North Carolina also has been adding employment opportunities at a consistent rate over the past 18 months with announced job creation numbers well over 20,000, according to data compiled by WRAL News.
Raleigh (41%) and Durham-Chapel Hill (40%) trail only the Charlotte metro (up 34%) in the total number of job openings.
However, as Raiford noted, jobs have surged from New Bern (118%) and Greenville (116%) to Asheville (49%).
The most in-demand occupation is for software developers at 12,309.
Here’s a breakdown my metro area of job demand:
TOP 15 MSAs
Locations, July ‘21 openings, year-over-year change:
- Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia: 13,287, +34%
- Raleigh: 12,145, +41%
- Durham/Chapel Hill: 4,910, +40%
- Greensboro/High Point: 1,624, +113%
- Fayetteville: 1,449, +21%
- Winston-Salem: 682, +16%
- Wilmington: 462, +22%
- Burlington: 363, +82%
- Jacksonville: 329, +37%
- Asheville: 322, +49%
- Greenville: 264, +116%
- New Bern: 242, +118%
- Goldsboro: 214, +529%
- Hickory/Lenior/Morganton: 148 +35%
- Rocky Mount: 119, +98%
The group’s jobs report for June also was issued Monday. It had been delayed due to changes made by one of the information providers for the report, NC TECH said.