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Tech job openings in NC still trail 2019 levels. But some skills are in high demand.

The (Raleigh) News & Observer logo The (Raleigh) News & Observer 10/23/2020 Zachery Eanes, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

RALEIGH

With coronavirus cases once again increasing in North Carolina, the number of tech job openings in the state continue to trail 2019 levels, according to a new report from the N.C. Tech Association.

In September, there were 26,305 tech job postings in the state, down 6% from the year prior.

However, the state’s tech industry has remained more resilient than many other industries — and tech job postings here are doing better than the country as a whole.

The number of nationwide tech job openings, in comparison, were down nearly 18% over the same period.

“Rarely does North Carolina do as bad as the U.S., and when things are good we tend to do better than (the country),” Brooks Raiford, the president of NC Tech, said in an interview. “Generally speaking, we outperform the U.S., which speaks to our tech ecosystem’s strength.”

Raiford said that while the numbers are still down compared to 2019, the state’s tech ecosystem has rebounded past its spring nadir, when uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus was at its peak.

April and May were especially weak months, as tech companies sent employees home and took stock of their hiring plans.

“Companies were pulling back,” he said. “In late March, people were saying, ‘Holy cow, we are going to have to go home and maybe I am not going to fill this position right now.’”

But the third quarter has been much stronger than the previous quarter.

Tech hiring, Raiford said, tends to slow down in the last three months of the year. But he’s hopeful that the dips will be comparable to last year’s.

Some skill sets appear to be doing better than others.

Specifically, software development openings are actually up 13.4% compared to last year, and have been outpacing last year’s totals for several months now. Information security analysts were also in more demand compared to last year.

Others positions, like web developers, were down 31.4%, though.

The overall declines in job postings were felt differently across the state.

Raleigh’s tech openings were down 6.4% compared to last year, while Charlotte’s were down 13.3%.

Wilmington, which has a smaller base of tech jobs and thus is more likely to volatility month-to-month, saw its tech job openings increase by 67.8% from September 2019 to September 2020.

Wilmington has benefited in the past year from a growing financial technology hub built around Live Oak Bank and nCino, The News & Observer recently reported.

Oracle and IBM were the two largest hirers of tech talent last month, according the tech association’s report.

Oracle has offices in Durham, Morrisville and Charlotte. It also has a large remote workforce, Raiford said.

IBM, which recently announced it is spinning out a large portion of itself into a new company, has reported strong hiring growth related to its acquisition of Raleigh-based Red Hat.

Red Hat has a big influence on IBM’s cloud-computing business, which is growing faster than other parts of the company. Subsequently, Red Hat has continued to hire new employees at a brisk pace, despite the merger, The News & Observer previously reported.

“Red Hat is actually growing,” IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said earlier this month. “They need more and more people, so that’s probably going to be increased (employment), not decreased.”

This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; go to bit.ly/newsinnovate

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©2020 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

Visit The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) at www.newsobserver.com

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