Oklahoma High-Tech Employment On the Rise

Annual wages in the Oklahoma high-technology employment sector have reached almost twice the state average annual wage for all sectors. With the Google Data Center to come to Pryor’s MidAmerica Industrial Park, predictions say these numbers have nowhere to go but up.
While the increase in wages is due in part to a change in the composition of the industry, it’s still good news for more people as the number of workers employed in high-tech jobs increased by more than 17,000 jobs last year, according to an Oklahoma High-Technology Employment Briefing produced by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
Other findings from the report include:
? Oklahoma’s high-technology sector employs 8.7 percent of the state’s total employment;
? If the Oklahoma economy were to employ the same proportion of people in high-tech industries as the nation, an additional 21,604 people would be employed in these industries in the state.
? Average wages in the high-technology sector have increased from $50,100 to $65,302, in part due to a change in industry composition.
“Oklahoma’s high technology sector pays an annual average wage of $65,302, almost twice the state’s overall annual wage. Thus, as one would expect, high-tech industries are a key focus of Oklahoma’s economic development efforts,” Commerce Chief of Administrative Operations Sheri Stickley said.
Energy, bioscience, aerospace, instruments and controls, advanced manufacturing and software development are just a few examples of industries that comprise Oklahoma’s high technology sector.
The Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) have roles in attracting and retaining high tech companies, as well as helping start up homegrown companies. Stickley said the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program, managed by Commerce, provides incentives for many high-technology companies. In the past year, the state’s incentive program has assisted 11 high-tech companies that plan to create 1,520 jobs in the next three years with average annual wages of $77,500.
“These companies and the jobs that they create will have a substantial economic impact upon the state,” Stickley said. “With funding from OCAST, i2E nurtures start-up tech firms with technology commercialization know-how and comprehensive enterprise development services. And, it provides access to the all-important capital these fledgling companies must acquire to survive. i2E’s client companies have secured more than $293 million in proof-of-concept, seed, mid- and late-stage private equity financing since the organization’s inception.”
Combined, high-technology industries employed 13,496,110 people nationally, which represents 10.1 percent of the nation’s total employment and 10.3 percent of private sector employment. In Oklahoma, high-tech industries employed 129,712 people, which accounts for 8.7 percent of the state’s total employment and 9.3 percent of Oklahoma’s private-sector employment.
If the Oklahoma economy were to employ the same proportion of people in high-tech industries as the nation, an additional 21,604 people would be employed in these industries in the state.
Higher average annual wages are one measure of the quality of the jobs in the high-technology sector. The national average wage equals $41,751 for all industries, while national average wages in the high-technology sector equals $76,886. In Oklahoma, the state’s average annual wage equals $33,592 while the average wages in Oklahoma’s high-technology sector equal $65,302.
While Oklahoma’s average wage and high-tech average wage are less than the national averages, these figures do not account for geographic differences in the cost-of-living, productivity, demand, etc. Addressing the cost-of-living differences only, if the nation had a similar cost-of-living as Oklahoma, then the national average wage would be $38,500 and the high-tech average wage would be $70,800. ?

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