Special Report

15 Cities With the Most High-Tech Jobs

Raleigh (Wake County), North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

10. Raleigh, NC
> Advanced industries, share of employment: 12.5%
> Advanced industries, share of output: 24.8%
> Annual avg. wage: $54,744
> Largest advanced industry: Computer systems design

Many of the metro areas that support advanced industries have a high tech hub that is connected to the region’s research universities. Research Triangle Park, which was first opened in the 1950s, has since grown to include more than 200 companies and employ 50,000 people — helping to transform Raleigh from a textile- and agriculture-based economy to an international high tech center.

Advanced industries account for roughly 25% of Raleigh’s GDP, one of the largest shares of any city. Between 2013 and 2015, the GDP generated by Raleigh’s advanced industries grew at an average rate of 9% annually, faster than in any city other than Provo-Orem, Utah.

Austin, Texas, USA downtown skyline.
Source: Thinkstock

9. Austin-Round Rock, TX
> Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.1%
> Advanced industries, share of output: 25.5%
> Annual avg. wage: $55,909
> Largest advanced industry: Computer systems design

As is the case in all but a few top cities for advanced industries, Austin-Round Rock area residents report some of the highest educational attainment rates in the nation — 42.6% of area adults have at least a bachelor’s degree versus 30.6% of adults nationwide. The broad level of qualifications helps tech companies fill job openings and is the engine behind the innovations expected from advanced industries in these cities.

Information technology giant and PC maker Dell is based in Round Rock. IBM, which holds more patents than any company in the world, is located in Austin. Tech giant Apple also employs thousands in the Austin area.

Boston, Massachusetts, USA downtown cityscape.
Source: Thinkstock

8. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
> Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.3%
> Advanced industries, share of output: 23.8%
> Annual avg. wage: $72,120
> Largest advanced industry: Computer systems design

The Boston area is home to some of the nation’s top universities and research institutions, many of which spend enormous sums on R&D investments. MIT-sponsored research alone totalled $1.48 billion in fiscal 2016, 44% of the university’s total annual spending and one of the largest R&D investments of any institution nationwide. Advanced industries in the Boston metropolitan area generate approximately $80 billion annually, nearly a quarter of the region’s total GDP. The share and output are each among the largest compared with other major metro areas.

Like other cities with high advanced industry employment, Boston area residents are highly educated. Of adult area residents, 46% have at least a bachelor’s degree, the fifth largest percentage in the country.

Washington DC, USA skyline on the Potomac River.
Source: Thinkstock

7. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.5%
> Advanced industries, share of output: 18.5%
> Annual avg. wage: $72,766
> Largest advanced industry: Computer systems design

Nearly half of adults in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area have at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest proportion of all metro areas. With so many college-educated adults, the average wage of $72,766 annually is also among the highest.

The largest employer in the area is of course the federal government. However, not only do tech companies also dominate the metro job market, but also many of these advanced industry companies rely heavily on government contracts. For example, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer and top government contractor, spends hundreds of millions in R&D each year.

6. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
> Advanced industries, share of employment: 13.9%
> Advanced industries, share of output: 21.2%
> Annual avg. wage: $49,124
> Largest advanced industry: Audio & video equipment

Most cities with the highest advanced industry employment have high educational attainment rates and proportionately high incomes. The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area is the exception. Of area adults, 28.4% have at least a bachelor’s degree and the average worker earns less than $50,000 annually — each lower than the respective national figures.

A number of aerospace companies, including several top government contractors, operate in the region. URS Corporation, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, United Launch Alliance, Rockwell Collins Inc., and Northrop Grumman Corp are each major employers in the area.