December 08, 2010

Albany's Tech Job Market Third Fastest Growing

By: by Robin K. Cooper, The Business Review


Albany is the third fastest growing high-tech job market in the country, according to a new TechAmerica Foundation report.

The 2010 Cybercities analysis of 60 U.S. markets found that only seven cities added high-tech positions last year. Oklahoma City led the way, growing by 5.4 percent followed by Hunstville, Ala. which had 2.4 percent growth.

Albany's 1.6 percent increase was third, followed by Buffalo at just under 1 percent growth.

Nationwide, the number of high-tech jobs shrank by 3.2 percent.

"When it comes to growing to the next level, Albany has the infrastructure to help get us there," said Ashok Sood, president and CEO of Massachusetts-based Magnolia Solar.

Sood announced earlier this year that Magnolia Solar, whose company uses nanotechnology to improve solar cell efficiency, will expand its research presence in Albany over the next five years. The company hired two employees to work in the Albany market this year, and Sood said that number could grow to 50 over the next few years.

The Albany market is enticing because of the government support and the resources available at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Sood said.

Real estate prices, nanotechnology equipment and government backing have made the Albany market an attractive place as Magnolia Solar considers developing what Sood calls a "pilot facility" in the next few years.

Albany added 900 high-tech jobs from 2007 to 2009, including 341 last year.

Meanwhile, Albany also fared well in tech industry wages as the average salary for its 21,274 high tech positions grew by nearly $2,400 to $78,264.

Only seven other markets saw high-tech wages grow by a larger amount. St. Louis, Mo. lead the way as high-tech wages grew by more than $4,300 over the past year to $83,165.

The Silicon Valley continues to offer the highest wages in the high-tech sector at $132,057 a year. However, that market saw average salaries shrink by $15,000 a year from 2008 to 2009.

New York City remains the largest high-tech market in the country with nearly 317,000 jobs, followed by the Silicon Valley's 225,575 jobs and Boston's 220,000.

All three of those large markets saw high-tech employment shrink by at least 2 percent.

Phillip Bond, chairman of the TechAmerica Foundation, points out that the SanJ ose-Silicon Valley market, however, continue to lead the country with the highest concentration of high-tech workers. Nearly 30 percent of all employees work in high-tech fields.

Read more: Albany's tech job market third fastest growing | The Business Review