When your tech job isn’t in tech


When you think of technology workers, you’re apt to think of companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Samsung … you know, tech companies.

But there are technology workers in every industry that deploys tech, and in many industries the percentage of workers with technology jobs has increased.

“Tech jobs as a share of all jobs rose 17% between 2012 and 2017, from 2.8% to 3.3%,” writes Indeed.com analyst Andrew Wheeler. “But in many high-tech industries, tech workers actually declined as a share of all workers. Meanwhile, some industries outside the tech sector have seen rapid growth in the share of their workforces in tech jobs.”

Utility companies, for example, saw the share of employees with technology positions increase from 4.5% in 2012 to 11.6% in 2017. Other big gainers in that same time period:

  • Banking and related activities — 6.4% to 9.1%
  • Non-depository credit and related activities — 6.1% to 8.6%
  • Periodical, book, and directory publishers — 5.4% to 7.6%
  • Oil and gas extraction — 3.2% to 6.0%
  • Engines, turbines, and power transmission equipment — 3.6% to 6.0%

Meanwhile, some traditional technology companies are seeing the share of technology jobs at their organizations decrease. Computer and peripheral equipment companies saw their share of tech workers decline from 27.4% in 2012 to 23.9% in 2017, while the share of tech employees at software publishers declined in that time period from 45.1% to 39.9%.

Some tech-oriented industries continue to load up on tech talent, however. Internet publishing, broadcasting, and web search portals increased their share of tech workers on the payroll from 29.4% in 2012 to 33.0% in 2017, while wired telecom carrier tech-job share rose from 12.0% to 13.8% in the same period.

“Tech jobs have never been just in tech, but they are becoming ever more prevalent in almost every industry,” Wheeler concludes. “Increasingly, people who want tech jobs have options beyond Silicon Valley and its fellow tech centers.”

Thriving in the digital economy means seeing beyond the obvious opportunities and actively finding the right places for your skill sets and interests. It’s not even thinking outside the box as much as understanding that there are no boxes anymore.

Flowers relied on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Community Survey for his analysis.


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