Seattle Tech Job Market Growing Rapidly

Susan Hall
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Twelve Points to Leave Off Your Resume

Seattle's tech scene isn't just Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon anymore. There's also Google, Facebook, F5 Networks and others, along with a vibrant startup scene.


A new report finds that tech employment, including self-employment, accounts for 13.6 percent of state jobs with a combined payroll of more than $41 billion. The Technology Alliance study found that 396,818 people are directly employed in tech jobs, up 15,272 from its 2010 study. It estimates that tech supports 1.4 million jobs - about 45 percent of the state's employment overall - and nearly $86 billion in payroll, the Seattle Times reports.


The study's data came from the first half of 2011, so it's a bit old. But it put average salaries at $94,531, compared with an average of $49,829 for all other industries. In the 2010 report, tech salaries averaged $110,145 compared with $57,654 in other jobs, so salaries dipped a bit overall. But it's just behind the Top 10 cities in tech salaries released by CyberCoders in March.


If you're seeking a tech job, Seattle's the place to look. Forbes recently named the Emerald City No. 1 on its list of cities for tech job growth, citing 12 percent growth in tech jobs and 7.6 percent STEM job growth over the past two years. Looking at the decade 2001-2011 it put growth at 43 percent in tech jobs and an 18 percent increase in STEM positions.


With the many opportunities, recruiting is fierce, with companies, just as in most areas, complaining that the region does not produce enough tech grads. John McAdam, CEO of F5 Networks, which has been in Seattle for 15 years and which produces a traffic-management operating system, recently spoke about Seattle and its ongoing hiring. It plans to add at least 125 employees this quarter.


GeekWire quotes McAdam, saying:

I truly believe there are some differentiators. There is a collaboration-type focus within the culture of the community, and I think there is a stronger loyalty in terms of employees. We have over 100 people in San Jose as well. However, the Bay Area is very competitive in terms of people moving around. In our organization, if you look at development group in Seattle, the attrition rate is extremely lower. There's a great skill set here. But having said that, we've had to import in R&D 40 percent of our hires.

Indeed, Seattle poses one of the most difficult recruiting markets. Time to fill cloud-related jobs in particular in Seattle is longer than any other city - seven weeks, according to TechZone360.

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