Strong growth in software jobs extends beyond traditional tech hubs as software industry wages continue to rise
WASHINGTON — September 19, 2019 — Even as the growth of the last two years has driven US unemployment to new lows and the markets to new heights, the software industry continues to outpace the overall economy. The industry has grown so strongly that nearly one in 10 US jobs results from the software economy.
“Software: Growing US Jobs and the GDP,” the latest report from Software.org: the BSA Foundation, finds that the software industry supports 14.4 million total US jobs and it directly employs 3.1 million people, up 7.3 percent in two years. By contrast, US jobs grew by three percent over the same period.
In addition, while the US economy continues to grow steadily, the US software industry grew nearly two times faster, contributing $1.6 trillion to the total US value-added GDP in 2018. The industry has expanded by 19 percent since 2016.
The report, which tracks software’s impact on the US economy with data and analysis from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), explores the growth of the software industry between 2016 and 2018 and measures its contributions to value-added GDP, job growth, and wage growth in all 50 states.
Key findings are:
- Software supports one in every 10 jobs in the United States. The software industry supports 14.4 million total US jobs across every economic sector, and the software industry directly employs 3.1 million people.
- Software’s impact on jobs grew twice as fast as the overall economy. Jobs supported by the software industry increased 7.3 percent from 2016 to 2018. By contrast, US jobs grew by three percent over the same period.
- The software industry contributed $1.6 trillion to the total US value-added GDP in 2018. The industry has expanded by 19 percent since 2016, nearly two times faster than the overall economy.
- Software’s economic impact grew by double digits in most US states. In 2018, 39 of the 50 states (plus Washington, DC) experienced double-digit growth. Additionally, software’s economic impact in four states—Nevada, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming—grew by more than 30 percent from 2016 to 2018.
- Software jobs are growing quickly beyond traditional tech hubs. The ten states that experienced the fastest software job growth from 2016 to 2018 include Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Montana.
- Average wages for software jobs are rising. The average wage for software jobs increased to $114,000 in 2018.
- New innovations are around the corner. The software industry invested more than $82 billion in research and development (R&D) in 2018, accounting for more than 22 percent of all domestic business R&D in the country.
“Software creates jobs in every state and every economic sector—and twice as fast as the national average,” said Victoria Espinel, President of Software.org: the BSA Foundation and President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance. “Now, we have to ensure that anyone who wants a software job can get one, regardless of their gender, race, or where they live.”
Software.org, an independent and nonpartisan international research organization, developed “Software: Growing US Jobs and the GDP” to help policymakers and other leaders better understand how a thriving innovation ecosystem brings profound and widespread economic benefits. The report updates its examination of the impact of the software on the US economy, and it also points to the need for pragmatic policymaking that fosters continued software-enabled gains.
In particular, the report underscores the need for governments to support workforce training programs across the country to fill the estimated 500,000 jobs in computing and IT that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says will exist by 2026. To help bridge the skills gap, Software.org launched TransformYourTrade.org, to connect early and mid-career workers with training opportunities offered by BSA companies—many of them free—and jumpstart a career in software.
“Software jobs aren’t simply tech sector jobs. They are manufacturing jobs, health care jobs, and agriculture jobs,” said Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of Software.org: the BSA Foundation. “And as software provides new solutions in those other sectors software companies need workers who can bring real world expertise to solve new digital puzzles. That means we need more software workers in more places than ever before.
“Already, though, open software jobs far outpace available workers. Business and government leaders alike must invest in technical training to help workers get the skills they need for the jobs of the future. That will ensure that software continues to deliver life-improving breakthroughs and economic gains.”
To view the full report from Software.org, visit https://software.org/softwarejobs.