The West Coast’s tech hubs are leading the nation in the race to grow employment in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
STEM jobs increased 8.2 percent in Los Angeles and 8.1 percent in Seattle from 2014 to 2018 — the fastest rates of any metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to commercial real estate firm CBRE. Overall, Seattle has added 19,090 new positions since 2014 and now counts 230,000 employees in STEM-related roles.
The New York metropolitan area has the most STEM workers at more than 500,000 — but the Bay Area is close behind and growing at more than double the rate, 7.3 percent vs. 3.5 percent over the four-year period.
Houston struggled during these boom times for other cities, losing 6.8 percent of its STEM workforce.
Large tech firms have no doubt contributed to Seattle’s rapid pace of new jobs. Amazon alone has 45,000 employees and lists more 11,000 open jobs in Seattle. Dozens of Bay Area companies like Google, Facebook and Uber have contributed by setting up large engineering outposts in Seattle.
Washington ranks second for concentration of STEM jobs, according to nonprofit group Washington STEM, which estimated that there would be 45,000 jobs unfilled from 2017 to 2021 due to lack of qualified candidates.
The average salary for a tech worker in Seattle is $133,326, according to data from Hired. That number increased by nearly 6 percent from 2015 to 2017. Hired also noted that in 2018 there were more than 4,000 tech jobs available, with 3,500 of those filled by employees who relocated from outside Washington.
The real estate required to accommodate this job growth has changed the fabric of Seattle as well, as shown in this 3-year time-lapse video with footage shot from a 360-degree webcam mounted on the top of the Space Needle.
But the growth isn’t all about enterprise software and cloud services. CBRE ranked the city the No. 1 emerging life science cluster earlier this year, based on factors like job growth, new graduates, government funding and real estate. Life science employment jumped 17.4 percent in Seattle from 2014 to 2017, versus 4.1 percent nationally.