April 11. 2017 12:05AM

Granite State sees 2.1% jump in tech-sector jobs

By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader


MANCHESTER — The number of tech-sector jobs in New Hampshire increased by 2.1 percent in 2016 to nearly 42,000, according a new report analyzing the tech industry in all 50 states.

The annual report by Computing Technology Industry Association ranks New Hampshire at 33rd for tech-industry employment with an estimated 41,846 jobs in 2016. The increase of 864 tech jobs over the year more than doubled the increase the Granite State saw in last year’s report when New Hampshire picked up 401 additional tech jobs from 2015.

“It’s definitely encouraging to see that number go up and also to see that we are such a driver of the New Hampshire economy at over 10 percent,” said Matt Cookson, executive director of the New Hampshire High Tech Council. “We have a much higher tech worker density in New Hampshire. We really are a tech-driven state when you look at it nationally.”

Tech positions accounted for an estimated $7.5 billion, or about 10 percent, of the state’s overall economy. Granite State tech-sector businesses also increased by 1.1 percent, going from 4,015 last year to 4,058 in the 2016 study.

Cookson said New Hampshire’s growth could be even higher.

“The bottom line is there’s a lot of open jobs. If we could find some more human capital our tech sector is ripe to hire a lot more people,” Cookson said. “There are a lot of very good jobs still going unfilled because there’s great demand in the tech sector.”

The leading tech positions in New Hampshire were in application software development (4,870), support specialists (2,500) and systems analysis (2,240), according to the study.

The average wage for tech jobs in the state was $100,200, 88 percent higher than the overall state average of $53,300, and placed New Hampshire at No. 14 nationally.

Shannon Herrmann, recruiting manager for Alexander Technology Group, said New Hampshire has a challenge keeping up with larger states.

“I think that one thing kind of holding New Hampshire back is just the availability of talent. I think it would grow faster if we had more people here,” she said.

Herrmann said the increase in app development positions is good because it’s a growth-area industry-wide.

And in the competition to attract tech talent, Herrmann said the opportunity to work with the latest products can be the difference with candidates fielding multiple offers.

“Right now, we’re seeing candidates that are getting two or three offers at a time when they decide to enter the job market,” she said.

“We’re seeing more and more great people moving, specifically to get their hands on new technology. Money is not really the primary factor that we’re seeing folks move for right now.”

The study also ranked states according to the CompTIA “innovation score,” which is based on new tech patents, startups and new tech businesses on a per capita basis. New Hampshire ranks 21st in the adjusted category, another sign of the Granite State’s growth in the tech sector.

Marc Sedam, managing director of UNHInnovation, which helps create partnerships between the University of New Hampshire and the business community, said the findings in the report are encouraging for the state.

Sedam said the findings fit with what UNH has seen as it tries start new businesses that fit into the disciplines analyzed in the study.

“It’s a very competitive industry,” Sedam said. “There’s competition around the United States for these types of positions. We’re continuing to see growth, which is good.”