Arizona sees huge growth in tech jobs

The Arizona tech industry is creating major employment opportunities as a recent report from the Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) and Oregon-based elmpact indicates a rise in industry jobs and startups in the state. The AZTC Industry Impact Report highlights a rise in tech opportunities and an increasing  demand for a new crop of science-minded employees.

Currently there are more than 2,100 startups that have set up shop and registered on AngelList, a platform that bridges investors with startup companies. This has made way for the creation of more than 168,000 jobs in the tech field alone. Arizona ranks second, in the report, for employment growth and third in average industry pay, shelling out about $77,000 in the Southwest, a promising base pay to which entry-level employees can aspire.

Tech businesses in the state paid $32.5 million in taxes in 2016 with an average startup valuation of $3.9 million. Tech jobs are also likely to create a ripple effect, with every one tech job creating an additional 1.4 jobs outside the industry.

To support an industry that is delivering big for Arizona’s economy, we’ll need to remain focused on developing a homegrown innovative workers. While people are moving to Arizona (currently we are 8th on USA Today’s list of population growth in the nation) for jobs in technology and software, there’s still room to educate Arizona residents in tech-related fields.

“Despite the Phoenix Valley having a robust population of millennials,” the tech report reads, “there is still a significant shortage of mid-to-high-level technical talent, with many of these positions requiring extensive education.”

Arizona is also working to make capital more accessible for startups looking to grow and add employees, according to John Ragan, CEO of invisonAZ, a non-profit that helps accelerate tech startup growth in the state.“This is a little bit of a constraint in Arizona, but I think we’ll see more work on that in coming years,” said Ragan, “If we could continue creating bigger and better eco-systems to help support more and more ideas and people, and earn more capital, then obviously the idea is we can see more homegrown technology companies becoming bigger and bigger.”

Efforts have already been underway to harvest the skills required to meet employee demand. The Arizona Technology Council is currently working with the Greater Phoenix Chamber on a partnership to create an economic development initiative focused on business retention and expansion.

Nick Esquer

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