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Charlotte Metro Moves Up on CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index

The Queen City’s status as a “tech town” has been bolstered a bit this year. The Charlotte metro moved up a notch on CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index, landing at No. 5 — up one spot from No. 6 in 2019. Charlotte has appeared on the ranking all three years that CompTIA, a nonprofit for the global technology industry and workforce, has released the index. It made a splash in 2018, taking the No. 1 spot.  “Charlotte made its debut at the top of the Tech Town Index in 2018, and while it has fallen a bit in rank, the diversifying tech scene continues to drive the economy in this desirable region,” CompTIA stated in the report.

CompTIA’s annual index is meant to provide IT workers and tech professionals guidance on the best places that offer both opportunity and livability. It identifies 20 metro areas with populations of at least 250,000 where demand for tech workers is the greatest. The cities are then ranked based on cost of living, number of postings for open IT positions and projected job growth over the next year as well as the next five years.

The Raleigh metro area landed ahead of Charlotte at No. 3. Rounding out the five top spots are Austin-Round Rock, Texas, at No. 1; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, at No. 2; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, at No. 4. Elsewhere in North Carolina, Durham-Chapel Hill ranked at No. 13.

Here’s how Charlotte ranked in each category of the 20 metros:

  • Location quotient (number of IT job ads by number of people employed): 6
  • Number of IT job ads: 8
  • Cost of living index: 7
  • Cost of living adjusted median hourly earnings: 7
  • One-year job growth: 9
  • Five-year job growth: 8

The report, citing data from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, points out that the city has seen a 68% increase in tech workers over the past decade with more than 52,000 high-tech employees now living and working in Charlotte. Nearly 35% of local tech employees work for corporate headquarters, finance and insurance, or consulting services, while another 35% of IT professionals are employed in core tech industries such as software publishing and computer systems design services, according to the Alliance.

“More than 40 fintech firms are located here, including unicorn payments automation company AvidXchange and industry pioneer LendingTree. And, Lowe’s recently selected Charlotte for its 2,000-employee global tech hub,” the report stated.

Another big local addition is the announcement made by health insurance giant Centene Corp. over the summer in choosing the University City area as the site of its East Coast headquarters. That $1 billion investment will bring 3,237 new jobs here over a 10-year period, and a significant number of tech jobs are expected to be created as a result, as CBJ has previously reported.

CompTIA noted that the growth in tech jobs experienced in the Charlotte metro isn’t expected to slow down any time soon.

Here are more local findings from the report:

  • The expected growth in IT jobs is 8% over the next five years.
  • The cost of living is 2% lower than the national average.
  • IT professionals get paid $1,328 less annually.
  • There were 81,081 IT job postings between August 2019-July 2020.
  • The median salary for IT professionals is $91,612.

CompTIA found that an overall need for a “skilled, tech-ready workforce” persists nationwide and may even be amplified given the Covid-19 pandemic. It signaled the trend in remote work that’s been magnified by the pandemic is likely to change where tech pros chose to live and work.

“Ultimately, it’s difficult to predict how the circumstances of 2020 will affect the technology industry in the years ahead,” the report stated. “However, the CompTIA Tech Town Index illustrates that IT pros are in demand and have more options than ever before when choosing where to live and work.”

Read more from the report here.

Source: Martin, Jenna. Charlotte Business Journal, “Charlotte metro moves up on CompTIA’s 2020 Tech Town Index”, 10 November, 2020, 1:47 pm.