Growing Tech Jobs For Our Future

Gary Toebben

November 21, 2017

The tech sector is one of the fastest growing components of Los Angeles’ economy. Global technology companies now headquartered in L.A. include Cornerstone OnDemand, Snap Inc., SpaceX and Tinder, with Snap’s high-profile $24 billion IPO in March 2017 effectively cementing L.A.’s place as a global technology hub.

To continue to grow these companies, L.A. must provide a robust pipeline of skilled workers. Starting with our local students is a win-win. It provides L.A.’s tech companies with a diverse and skilled workforce to contribute to their competitive edge. It also provides underserved youth, nontraditional talent, and STEM-oriented Angelenos with access to rewarding careers paying great salaries.

In the last three years, the Bixel Exchange at the Chamber’s Center for Innovation & Technology has been fortunate to work with some of the best technology companies in L.A. as the designated intermediary for the City of Los Angeles and for Los Angeles area community colleges. We have researched the human capital needs of technology companies and how to best create a local pipeline of strong and diverse talent.

Our new and innovative partnership with LinkedIn has given us access to labor market research previously unavailable. We released that data last week in collaboration with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the local workforce system and our community colleges. The report, titled Building LA’s Tech Talent Pipeline, highlights the current skill sets, hiring trends and career pathways for L.A.’s tech industry. It analyzes data from 244,000 LinkedIn members identified with technology jobs in the greater L.A. region.

In 2017, these jobs averaged wages of $97,281. So, who’s hiring? The top 10 companies hiring tech talent last year were: Northrop Grumman, Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, USC, NASA JPL, Google, AT&T, Oracle, UCLA and Hulu. The top three job titles were Software Developer, IT Consultant and IT Support Specialist. Because companies in every industry sector are utilizing technology to grow their businesses, four out of every five IT jobs is not in a tech company.

And where is the talent coming from? Our report showed that colleges in the University of California and the California State University systems comprising eight of the 10 top producers of tech talent in the region. But the report also showed that almost one in four IT positions in L.A. did not require a bachelor’s degree, including many middle skills jobs such as IT support and web development.

The report makes three recommendations for developing our tech talent pipe: 1) Develop a systematic way to share knowledge between the companies that hire tech employees and the regional training system (universities, community colleges and the workforce system);  2) Foster a workforce development system with education/training providers that respond nimbly to innovations in the IT industry; and 3) Deploy public and private resources from engaged employers in a thriving ecosystem to develop a skilled tech pipeline.

Growing this pipeline of skilled tech employees will be essential to our future. Let’s start now.

And that's The Business Perspective.

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