TECHNOLOGY
From Oregon Investment Guide 2024
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How Many Branches Are in the Silicon Forest?

Intel is just the beginning of the story.

TECHNOLOGY
Tumalo Falls
Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon

by MARK AREND
T

he 25th largest metropolitan statistical area ­— Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon/Washington — punches above its weight when it comes to technology workers. The MSA is home to a modest 2.5 million people. But it’s one of the 32 largest tech talent markets (50,000 or more technology workers) in North America, according to Scoring Tech Talent 2023 from CBRE Research, published in July 2023. Citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report says the Portland metro was home to 69,470 technology jobs in 2022, a 34% increase from 2017.

A May 10, 2024, report by the Portland Business Journal (PBJ) lists the largest Oregon and southwest Washington technology company employers in three categories: hardware design and manufacturing, software development and technology service providers. The top three in the first category are Intel, Hillsboro, with 22,238 employees in 2023; Tektronix, Beaverton (1,000); and Microchip Technology, Gresham (909).

The top three software development companies are Tektronix; ZoomInfo, Vancouver, Washington (676); and NAVEX, Lake Oswego (275). The largest technology service providers by employees, according to the PBJ report, are ZoomInfo, Pacific Office Automation, Beaverton (511); and Logical Position, Lake Oswego (275).

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Top Tech Job Categories
Of the nearly 69,500 tech workers in Oregon, according to CBRE’s report, 26,740 worked in software development and programming in 2022, the state’s largest tranche of tech workers. The second largest (23,170) worked in computer support, database and systems, followed by computer and information systems managers (4,970).

Additional findings:

  • The top five industries employing tech talent in 2021 were core high-tech (47.5%), meaning computer software and services and computer product manufacturing; professional services, excluding high-tech (9.7%); health (7.4%); education (6.2%); and finance, insurance and real estate (5.5%).
  • Software engineers accounted for 64.6% of Portland’s tech workforce in 2021, the fourth highest in the U.S.
  • Portland area tech workers have the ninth highest average annual salary of the large tech talent markets, at $104,156.

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) takes a broader view of Oregon’s tech talent landscape. Its State of the Tech Workforce 2024, published in March, credits the Beaver State with net tech employment of 144,085.

The top three tech occupations in Oregon in 2023, according to the report, were software, programmers, Web and quality assurance with 28,513 workers; IT support specialist and repair technicians (10,628); and network, cloud engineers and architects (9,126).

CompTIA says Oregon is No. 10 in the nation in net tech employment concentration at 6.7% and No. 6 in the nation in terms of tech’s economic impact as a percentage of the state’s overall economy (11.1%). The estimated direct impact of the tech sector in Oregon comes to $29.8 billion. Metro Portland is No. 6 in the nation by tech economic impact as a percentage of the local economy at 14.7%, just ahead of Boston and the nation’s capital.

CompTIA reports there are 9,826 tech business establishments in the state. 2023 saw 35,146 employer job postings for tech occupations, with nearly 20% of those coming from what the organization labels as emerging tech employers. The estimated median tech wage of $104,198 is 121% higher than the state’s median wage.

After growing by an estimated 1,173 jobs from 2022 to 2023, net tech employment in the state is projected by CompTIA to grow by 4,043 jobs (2.8%) in 2024 to reach 148,128.

Using Lightcast data, the Technology Association of Oregon in fall 2023 compared 75th percentile earnings for computer and information systems managers across three Oregon metros. The compensation came to $165,388 in Portland, $148,169 in Bend and $131,276 in Eugene. Evaluated nationwide, cost-of-living-adjusted earnings in Oregon for tech jobs were an affordable No. 22 in the nation at $124,342.
 


The Technology Association of Oregon GraphThe Technology Association of Oregon sees a steady climb in tech employment over the next decade.
Graph courtesy of Technology Association of Oregon and Lightcast

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.

 

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