Tech and the City: Job Creation Reaching Near-Record Levels in New York

By May 26, 2014

During the last four years, the high-tech industry in New York City has seen significant growth, pulling along other sectors in its wake. Employment and salaries in this sector are also on the rise.

The latest report of New York State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli signals a 33% rise in the number of jobs in the high-tech industry between 2007 and 2013 in New York City, a rate roughly four times as fast as other sectors in the Big Apple. The report shows that as of third quarter 2013, NYC hosts 100,000 high-tech jobs, nearly equalling the record set just before the dotcom bubble burst back in 2000. Apart from the obviously much-sought-after engineers, the high-tech sector has openings for people with various types of education and training. Meanwhile, the sound health of businesses based on the new information and communications technologies is spreading its benefits to other sectors, creating synergies with more traditional industries. The report reveals, for example, that employment in advertising and public relations has grown by 25% over the last four years. In fact the high-tech industry offers very attractive remuneration, with annual salaries averaging $120,000, up 13% between 2009 and 2012, compared with just 9% for other sectors.

The appeal of investment funds

Among the main reasons for this success is certainly the fact that New York City has a reputation as a cosmopolitan town which is a meeting point for cultures and different types of knowledge. NYC has a rich pool of human capital, highly reputed academic institutions such as Columbia University and New York University and major players in the creative industries, all factors which help to enhance the city’s attraction. It is also home to Wall Street plus a large network of Venture Capital investment funds, which is a major draw-card for people looking to create a startup. According to the latest Money Tree report, in 2013 venture capital firms invested $1.3 billion in 222 high-tech companies based in Greater New York. In fact since the end of the second Internet bubble in 2012, venture-capital investment in NYC has seen the same growth as Silicon Valley.

Spreading the impact across the city

The growing number of high-tech firms has encouraged development in ways that are highly characteristic of this sector. Such support infrastructure as clusters, co-working spaces, startup incubators and accelerators have been emerging. As a knock-on effect, creative industries such as media, design and entertainment have all drawn benefit from the latest advances in information and communication technology. Meanwhile the high-tech scene has been spreading out across more city districts. Whereas ‘Silicon Alley’ used to stretch through Midtown South – across the districts of Chelsea, Flatiron, SoHo and Union Square – high-tech firms have now begun to put down roots further afield, in Lower Manhattan and parts of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

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