If you’re looking for a tech job in the United States, the best place to go is not Silicon Valley.
It’s New York.
According to a report released Tuesday from AeA, a tech industry trade group, New York and its surrounding metropolitan area leads the nation when it comes to the number of high-tech jobs. Rounding out the top five in order were Washington; San Jose/Silicon Valley; Boston; and Dallas-Fort Worth.
New York had 316,500 high-tech jobs, while Silicon Valley had 225,300, according to the AeA.
The study looked at employment throughout 2006; it was the first city-level report created by the AeA since 2000, before the tech bubble burst.
Silicon Valley does have the highest density of high-tech workers, with 28.6 percent of private sector jobs in the high-tech field. As a much larger metro area with a more diverse set of industries, New York does not even make the top five. (The AeA defines a “high-tech” job as being in one of 49 categories culled from the standardized North American Industrial Classification System that involve creating high-tech products or services.)
If it’s money you’re after, the Valley is the best place to find the highest-paying high-tech jobs, with salaries averaging $144,800. Seattle, number five on the salary list, pays an average of $96,197, while New York–not exactly the cheapest place to live–pays its high-tech workers $91,451.
Coming in at the bottom of the tech-salary scale is San Juan, P.R. High-tech workers there make just $38,422 on average.
Not every city has the same types of high-tech jobs. Silicon Valley leads in semiconductor manufacturing, while Seattle is the software publishing capital. Computer system design is Washington’s purview. And New York has the highest concentration of Internet services jobs.
But all is not rosy in high-tech land. The report warns that the United States is in danger of losing its high-tech edge due to the federal government’s policy not to grant visas or green cards to many foreign students studying here, resulting in a “tremendous number of unfilled jobs,” said Christopher Hansen, AeA’s president and chief executive officer, in an interview Monday.
At the same time, the United States educational system is not producing a sufficient number of graduates to fill those slots. “Our public schools are not generating the kinds of people who can go into engineering and math and compete,” Mr. Hansen said.
The result is that many high-tech companies are forced to relocate their operations abroad, where they can find the skilled help they need. Mr. Hansen said that allowing foreigners to work in the high-tech industry here would only generate more jobs. His proof: eBay, Google, Intel, Sun and Yahoo have either a founder or co-founder who was not American-born.