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Report: North Carolina poised for Tech Growth

Report  North Carolina poised for Tech Growth

Move over Silicon Valley, the state of technology in North Carolina looks increasingly attractive to businesses.

That’s our interpretation of the 2016 North Carolina State of Technology industry report, which we are featuring for this week’s Friday Share. It’s no coincidence that LexisNexis continues to build out the Raleigh Technology Center of Excellence.

The second annual report was produced by the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) and highlights the benefits to technology companies setting up shop in the Tar Heel state.  These range from the number of leading universities and access to talent – to the supporting state infrastructure and favorable “regulatory and legal environments for business.”

NC is #2 for Technology Employment

Based on employment data from 2000-2014, the report found that “North Carolina is the #2 state in Information Technology (IT) employment growth.”

The tech industry in NC alone employed more than a quarter million people and generated sales revenues approaching $75 billion by 2014.  In 2015, “technology employment grew by 3.6 percent, and technology establishments grew by 5.2 percent [emphasis added].”

The growth in tech jobs also appears to have an outsized benefit to NC as well.  The report found, “the average earnings per worker in the technology industry was almost $106,000 in 2014.”  More importantly, while the NC technology industry accounted “for 5.6 percent of total jobs” it was worth “11 percent of the state’s total wage earnings and sales.”

Report North Carolina poised for Tech Growth-wolfpack

Former Silicon Valley software executive Mike Lipps, featured here with popular NC State Wolfpack representatives, is now the senior LexisNexis leader in Raleigh leading the build out of the Technology Center of Excellence.

Tech Transfer and University Relationships

The state of NC ranked fourth in the US for “university technology licenses and options executed,” which represents university research and innovation that has been transferred into “commercialized opportunities.”  NC spun off 32 new companies out of its universities in 2014, the “8th highest” in the country.

“The ability of a state to capitalize on its research capabilities and turn them into marketable concepts means more technology start-ups and jobs,” according to the report.

NC State University, with a widely respected reputation for design (UX) and engineering, reported in 2014 setting a “record high annual statistics for the number of startups, commercialization agreements, and patents filed.”

The NC State Centennial Campus, a public-private partnership that counts some 70 organizations across business, non-profit and government organizations.  As part of this community, LexisNexis has initiatives with NC State underway to advance the software products developed in Raleigh.

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Diversity, Gender Improves; Room for More

The report analyzed the diversity of technology employees across all 50 states and found room for improvement.  The report calculated a “diversity index of 0.71” in NC, which means the state “ranked 23rd across all states and below the national average.”

The national average was calculated at 0.77 on the index, where “a value of 1 would mean the minority population in the tech sector is equal to the state’s overall minority population.”  Among other state’s with reputations for vibrant tech sectors, Massachusetts ranked #3, California, #10 and Texas #29, according to a graphic included in the report.

A bright spot the report found was gender inclusion in the technology community.  NC trailed only the District of Columbia, but ahead of every other state, for the percentage of women (36.4%) in the technology workforce:

“While almost every state has far from equal representation in this industry, North Carolina is again behind only the District of Columbia for its employment of women in the technology sector, making it the highest ranked, #1 state for women in the tech sector.”

Report  North Carolina poised for Tech Growth-graph

This graphic is from the “2016 North Carolina State of Technology” industry report by the NCTA.

6 North Carolina Tech Statistics

The full report is filled with data and statistics painting a comprehensive picture of the technology landscape in NC.   Here are six that stood out to us:

1. Types of Tech Jobs. “The most common occupations across tech companies are software developers at 23 percent, engineers at 7 percent, and business operation specialists at 7 percent.”

2. Tech employment growth. “In the past five years jobs in this [tech] industry have grown by 13.7 percent in the state. That is the 6th highest growth rate in the country and well above the national average of 8.9 percent.”   The report also notes “when focusing specifically on the IT subsector, the state’s highest employment subsector, North Carolina has an employment growth rate of 19.9 percent, the highest of all the comparison states and the 2nd highest rate in the country behind Utah.”

3. No signs of slowing. “North Carolina is estimated to grow its technology employment by 7.9 percent from now until 2020.”

4. A beacon for R&D funding. “We examined R&D dollars that were awarded to higher education, particularly the funding that went to science and engineering fields, and found that North Carolina was ranked 4th among states across this indicator.”

5. Patents as Innovation Indicators. “Across all 50 states, the state [NC] ranks 13th with over 14,000 patents being developed since 2010.”

6. Venture Capital and Startups. “North Carolina entrepreneurs raised $868 million in equity funding through Q3 of 2015,” according to the report, citing data from the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. Tech companies raised about half of that funding with $423 million, while life sciences raised $380.  About $50 million of that venture funding went to manufacturing innovation and $14 million to clean-tech startups.

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LexisNexis was one of several technology businesses that sponsored the report, which was researched and published independently.  A copy of the report is freely available for download with registration on the NCTA website. The NCTA manages a blog on Tumblr and social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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About Frank Strong

Frank Strong
Frank Strong is the communications director for the LexisNexis software division located on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. In this capacity, he leads communications efforts in support of software products for law practice and law department management and also litigation tools – across large law, small law and corporate counsel segments. With more than 15 years of experience in the high-tech sector, Strong previously served as director of public relations for Vocus, which developed marketing, PR and media monitoring software. He has held multiple roles both in-house with corporations, ranging from startups to global organizations, and has also endured the rigors of billable hours, having completed gigs at PR firms including the top 10 global firm Hill & Knowlton. A veteran of two year-long deployments, Strong has concurrently served in uniform in reserve components of the military for more than 20 years, initially as an enlisted Marine and later as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Strong holds a BA in Film and TV production from Worcester State University, an M.A. in Public Communication from American University, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University. He is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver and holds a USPA "B" skydiving license.
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