A December 2012 report ("Technology Works: High-Tech Employment and Wages in the United States") offers yet another look at high-tech employment.
The report does a poor job defining what a "high tech job" is; it seems to be a job in the tech sector, but does that include the administrative people working for Intel? My sense is that they include engineers, technicians, and manufacturing workers in the technology sector.
The state with the highest proportion of high-tech jobs isn't California; it's Washington (the state, not the hot-air factory nestled between Maryland and Virginia), with 11.4% of all private jobs in the tech industry. Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado all have a higher percentage of tech workers than California, although no metro area can match Silicon Valley's 28.8% figure.
Definition of "High-Tech Jobs" is given in the appendix: engineers, scientists, their managers but also technicians and drafters. The average wages in, for instance, the San Jose area is listed as $170k. Not household income, but wages. The average?? I have a hard time believing that..
@Jeroen: ditto! I live in San Jose area and I too have a hard time believing that average wage while the one for California as a state is $121k. I think the spread is too high to be cost of living differential.
I agree with both posters. The salary surveys have been some of the most depressing things ever published, when I read about how much some claim to make. I find those numbers very hard to believe based on what engineers get here in southeastern Michigan. Yes, we are well paid, but not by that standard. Of course, California IS a diffeent planet, and living expenses there are out of sight, but the pay scales are simply not believeable for the rest of the country.
The result is that I have come to regard the published salary surveys as works of fiction not even worth looking at.
Of course the job market here is looking up, but only for those who are employed. It seems that all of the head hunters are unwilling to even consider an engineer who is out of work and actually needs a job. They claim that it is by direction of their clients.
I would really like for a congressional investigative committee to get some of thse clients to testify, under oath, for publication, just exactly why they have set that policy. And not allow them to plead the fifth amendment, either. Discrimination is discrimination and the roots certainly need to be held up to the light of day.
California DOES have a more employee-friendly set of laws on the books, including a prohibition against non-compete agreements, and the protection against a company seizing something you developed on your own and without using any of the resources of your employer provided it is not a product which directly competes with the products sold by your current employer and regardless of what you signed away in any "invention agreement".
This legal structure is what makes California a breeding ground for new products and ideas.
If you read the report, the appendix very clearly defines what jobs are counted as "high-tech jobs," and it's not something the authors made up, it is based on work done by the BLS to define and identify high-tech industries.
The discussion here about salaries misses the bigger point of the report -- that high-tech or STEM job growth has exceeded that of non-STEM industries, that STEM employees earn more and have a lower unemployment than non-STEM employees, and that the distribution of STEM jobs in the U.S. is geographically very diverse.
I would imagine that this study includes the CEOs. It doesn't take too many CEO salaries to inflate the average pay. The fact that employers are refusing to hire the unemployed but are happy to increase the number of H1Bs is despicable. But you can't argue that companies do what they do based on the laws of the land to reduce costs. That means us old guys will have a hard time keeping jobs as we approach retirement. And with Obamacare coming, don't expect to have any health insurance from the company.
I am trying to see if a CE0 wage could skew the data but the math does not support it. A large company has too many in the mix that easily dominate the average that a single or even a few highly paid could skew more than a few percent. Try a few examples and you will see.
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