Monday, July 24, 2017
A Tale of Two Tech Markets: Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte

CBRE’s recent ranking of the Charlotte as the top metro for growth in tech talent comes as little surprise to us at the chamber. Growth in the technology sector has been a major component of Charlotte’s recovery from the recession. As the CBRE report notes, key technology occupations grew by more than 77 percent in the Charlotte metro area between 2011 and 2016. In raw numbers, that’s 21,690 new tech jobs.

What’s surprising? The Raleigh-Durham area added 1,000 fewer technology jobs than Charlotte during this time period.

To be fair, Raleigh-Durham’s tech talent pool is still quite a bit larger (around 60,000) than Charlotte’s (around 49,000), and tech accounts for a higher percentage of workforce (6.9 percent in Raleigh versus 4.3 percent in Charlotte), but the fact that Charlotte is catching up is news to be celebrated, and underscores how technological innovation is reshaping the business world and even the most highly regulated industries.

Financial technology, or FinTech, has become a new buzzword in Charlotte and with good reason. Homegrown startup success stories like AvidXchange and LendingTree, have given this growing industry cluster a lot of exposure lately (See more in our Financial Services white paper here).

A closer look at the workforce in the two markets shows more than double the concentration of FinTech talent in Charlotte, nearly 11 percent of the tech workforce versus 4.3 percent in Raleigh-Durham. In addition, headquarters tech talent is much stronger in Charlotte. While the two markets stack up similarly in traditional tech industries such as professional services and information, Raleigh-Durham has a larger technology manufacturing sector, growing out of the several research universities in the area.

The study also points to Charlotte’s “brain gain” in the tech sector. While area colleges and universities awarded nearly 5,000 tech degrees during the 2011-2016 time period that was only enough to fill less than 25 percent of the available tech jobs. The rest had to be recruited from elsewhere. While Charlotte benefits from this influx of talent, efforts are underway to improve the pipeline of homegrown tech talent.


Top five sectors for tech talent, Charlotte vs. Raleigh-Durham





Percentage of tech workforce

Percentage of tech workforce

Professional Services









Finance and Insurance






   Source: JobsEQ, Q1 2017

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am 

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