Last month the Arizona Technology Council partnered with Oregon-based eImpact to release a report that found signs of promising growth in the Arizona tech industry. The AZTC Industry Impact Report stated that there are over 2,100 startups in Arizona listed on startup networking site AngelList, and there are over 168,000 jobs in the tech field in the state.
According to the report, Arizona ranks second in employment growth and third in average industry pay ($77,000) in the Southwest. Arizona tech businesses paid $32.5 million in taxes in 2016, and the average Arizona startup valuation is $3.9 million.
These are all signs that the tech industry is working in the state’s favor, providing many opportunities for employment and economic stimulus. The report found that for every job created in the tech sector, there were 1.4 jobs created outside of it, meaning growth in the tech industry has helped the economy grow as a whole.
The report concluded by using these growing numbers as a call to action to train more Arizona residents in tech-related fields.
“One of the biggest and consistent struggles we hear from our members is talent attraction,” the report stated. “Despite the Phoenix Valley having a robust population of millennials, there is still a significant shortage of mid-to-high-level technical talent, with many of these positions requiring extensive education.”
The number of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering per 1,000 individuals aged 18 to 24 peaked in 2013 at 30, according to the report. Since then it has dropped to about 24 in 2016 but has still come a long way since starting out at fewer than 10 in 2000.
The percentage of science and engineering degrees conferred peaked in 1992 at close to 28 percent, but last weighed in around 25 percent in 2016, dropping to an all-time low of 16 percent in 2007.
There are many efforts in the Valley to try to close this skill gap, including ASU’s recent partnership with Coursera to create an online graduate computer science degree, as well as the many local coding boot camps and startup accelerators and incubators that offer people the chance to enhance their tech skills outside of a university setting.
The Arizona Technology Council is working to close the gap by, through a partnership with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, creating an “economic development initiative focused on business retention and expansion.” The report also mentioned a group called the AZ Cybersecurity Workforce Collaborative that promotes cybersecurity careers through its website, AZCyberTalent.com.