Where are the best places to look for technology jobs? Right here in Minnesota is a good start, according to a recent Dice.com survey and as reported by Forbes in an article titled The Fastest-Growing States For Tech Jobs In 2015
Why is Minnesota No. 1? According to the Forbes article, this is why: “Headquarters for big corporations like UnitedHealth Group, General Mills, 3M, U.S. Bankcorp, and Target, it’s also known as “Medical Alley,” because it’s home to device companies like Medtronic, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific. All of those firms hire armies of tech workers. It also has an impressive number of fast-growing technology-specific companies like enterprise cloud software maker Code 42, supply chain management software firm SPS Commerce and JAMF Software, a firm that helps companies install and manage their Apple products. Earlier this month JAMF reportedly reached a deal with IBM to integrate Apple into IBM’s cloud technology systems.”
While Minnesota ranked high in terms of IT job opportunities, it did not rank in the top 10 of the best states for telecommuiting jobs, according to FlexJobs.com
The dice.com survey also reported this information:
The fastest-growing state for technology jobs this year so far isn’t California – where Silicon Valley’s legion of startups and well-established tech firms continue to dominate headlines – and it isn’t New York, Texas or any of the other handful of states that have aggressively been trying to generate tech-related PR buzz over the past several months.
In fact, it’s Minnesota, that stalwart northern state which, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, saw the size of its tech workforce jump 8.36 percent over the past six months, to 37,600 workers. Minnesota cities such as Minneapolis-Saint Paul feature a combination of startups, service providers, and major corporations in serious need of tech talent. Moreover, overall tech-job growth in these cities has been steady over the past three quarters, suggesting that the local industry is sustainable.
Utah and Nebraska came in second and third on the list of fastest-growing states for tech jobs, with six-month tech-employment gains of 5.75 percent and 5.22 percent, respectively. Michigan and Florida rounded out the top five.
While northern states filled three of the top five slots on the list of fastest-growing states for tech jobs, growth was pretty evenly distributed across the country, as one can see from the top seventeen states that experienced percentage increases in their tech-pro populations:
1. Minnesota (8.36 percent)
2. Utah (5.75 percent)
3. Nebraska (5.22 percent)
4. Michigan (4.47 percent)
5. Florida (4.27 percent)
6. Massachusetts (3.75 percent)
7. New York (3.58 percent)
8. Maryland (3.45 percent)
9. Oregon (3.42 percent)
10. California (3.04 percent)
11. Virginia (2.31 percent)
12. Illinois (2.14 percent)
13. Texas (1.97 percent)
14. Ohio (1.39 percent)
15. Missouri (1.17 percent)
16. Georgia (0.96 percent)
17. New Jersey (0.43 percent)
In June Minnesota IT recruiter Paul DeBettignies author of the Minnesota Headhunter blog, and an IT recruiter in the Minneapolis area for over 17 years, released the Minnesota IT Jobs, Salary and Recruiting Report Summer 2015 outlining detailed local information related to the local IT industry. In that blog post DeBettignies referred to his research and said this:
“Let’s be clear, this is a percentage growth number, NOT a total number of jobs created. Clearly other states would be doing better. This is an important number as it shows the Minnesota tech community continues to grow. Some would have you believe that everyone is leaving for the West Coast. It’s just not true.”
According to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report for the Twin Cities, released in June, 85% of CIOs planned to hire during the next six month – which is now until the end of t2015 – either to expand or fill vacated positions. In addition, 57% report challenges finding skilled IT talent.
“Office 365 upgrades, data migrations and cybersecurity protocols are just a few of the projects fueling demand for IT talent in the Twin Cities,” said Kathy Northamer, Twin Cities district president of Robert Half Technology. “We’re seeing numerous requests for network security and web development professionals for both contract and full-time roles. Signing bonuses and unique perks are becoming increasingly common as employers duke it out for top candidates.”
Hiring forecasts are based on interviews with more than 2,500 chief information officers (CIOs) from 25 major U.S. markets who were asked to provide a six-month hiring outlook.
Recruiting Challenges and Skills in Demand
Recruiting still remains a challenge, as 57 percent of CIOs said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today. They also revealed the skills in greatest demand within their organizations, which include:
- Network administration (49 percent)
- Windows administration (46 percent)
- Desktop support (45 percent)
Addressing Recruiting Challenges
Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said they are taking action to address recruiting challenges for IT staff. The following is a breakdown of the steps they are taking:
- Increasing networking activities (51 percent)
- Using recruiters or staffing firms (37 percent)
- Offering referral bonuses (37 percent)
- Hiring consultants to augment current staff (36 percent)
This positive outlook for the Minnesota IT sector comes despite the recent announcement from Blue Cross Blue Shield that the company will eliminate 450 IT jobs over the next four years.
What are the hottest jobs for new grads? Think STEM. According to a list from CIO.com, the six hottest tech jobs being researched by new grads include: digital marketer, java developer, web developer, information technology specialist, data analyst and network engineer.
Minnesota has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, highlighted by the mass outcry over local dentist Walter Palmer illegally killing a lion in Zimbabwe and then further investigation into the inappropriate behavior of former University of Minnesota Athletics Director Norwood Teague. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins are struggling to hold steady in the AL Wild Card race and the Minnesota Vikings are reeling from the loss of Phil Loadholt.
But on the jobs front, Minnesota has emerged as a leader in the highly competitive IT sector. In fact, the state is No. 1 in terms of best place to look for technology jobs.