Tuesday, April 24, 2007

AeA Report-Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry

The American Electronics Association (AeA) released an interesting report today titled Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry. The report lists for $125 for AeA members and $250 for non-members. You can get the report at www.aeanet.org/cyberstates or by calling 408.987.4200. A press release announcing the report is linked here ~ here's key facts bullet items as quoted from this press release:

  • U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.8 million in 2006.
  • Tech employment was up in 2006 by nearly 147,000 or by 3 percent.
  • This is on top of the growth of 87,000 tech jobs added in 2005.
  • High-tech manufacturing employment rose by 0.4 percent, gaining 5,100 jobs between 2005 and 2006.
  • The semiconductor industry grew significantly in 2006, gaining 10,900 jobs.
  • At the sectoral level, 5 of the 9 tech manufacturing sectors gained jobs in 2006, 4 of the sectors lost.
  • The communications services sector continued to shed jobs in 2006, losing 13,300 compared to a loss of 37,200 in 2005.
  • The software services industry added 88,500 jobs, up for the third year in a row.
  • The engineering and tech services industry added 66,300 jobs in 2006, putting it at an all time high.
  • The unemployment rate for electrical engineers was 1.9 percent in 2006 and 2.5 percent for computer and math occupations.
  • The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $75,500 in 2005, 86 percent more than the average private sector wage of $40,500.

We're seeing significant growth in the tech sectors.
President and CEO of AeA, William T. Archey is quoted:

We probably underestimate the size of the industry to a slight degree. Year after year, we have illustrated how critical the high-tech industry is to the nation and to each and every state as it generates economic growth, innovation, and high paying jobs wherever it develops.

While we are encouraged by the pickup in tech employment, we are committed to the long term health of the industry, the economy, and our nation,"

We have some serious challenges ahead. Companies of all sizes continue to have problems recruiting highly qualified and educated individuals to work for them, whether those individuals are foreign or domestic. This was reflected in the 2.5 percent unemployment rate for computer scientists and the below 2 percent unemployment rate for engineers in 2006. This problem is twofold: 1) the lack of American kids enrolling in and graduating from math, science, and engineering programs and 2) a U.S. high-skilled visa system that is broken. This April, within two days of the start of taking applications, the U.S. government received 133,000 applications for 65,000 H-1B visas – those visas reserved for high skilled individuals. And this is for jobs starting in October of 2007.

It's frustrating and upsetting to see excellent academic programs that continue to be under-enrolled in every state in the country while employers are starving for workers. The perceptions and opinions are complex.
I recently had a conversation with the parent of a high school junior and mentioned the incredible opportunities available to graduates of engineering technology and engineering programs. The parent looked at me and told me these subjects were "boring". I thought this was an interesting comment because, based on further conversation, this parent had little idea what an engineering technician or an engineer actually does for a living. I ended up spending the next 45 minutes talking about how un-boring and exciting these careers can be. Did anything sink in? Not sure.

When I said goodbye and was walking away I wondered how many other parents are out there like this - educated, intelligent and extremely engaged in working with their children to select a college, a college major and ultimately a career. It's so important for us to reach out - we need to continue to make everyone aware of the opportunities these kinds of careers can provide. The next time I see this parent I'm starting with the last bullet item above:
The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $75,500 in 2005, 86 percent more than the average private sector wage of $40,500.

Here's how I'll follow up and these are my quotes:

.... Let's see, the average person works full time from 22 to 65 years of age.... that's 43 years.... you have a calculator?
.... If someone starts in an average wage job today that's $40,500/year * 43 years = $1,741,500 in lifetime income based on todays wages.

.... Now if that same person starts in a tech industry job that's $75,500/year * 43 years = $3,246,500 in lifetime income based on todays wages.

.... What's the difference? $3,246,500 - $1,741,500 = $1,505,000

.... What would you do with an extra $35,000 each year (in todays dollars) for the rest of your life?
.... What do you think your child would do with the additional income?

This will now become a piece of my pitch!

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