Like other major cities across the U.S., Los Angeles has undergone a renaissance in the technology sector. What makes this shift different from some of the other cities that have reinvested in tech is that LA is not even the preeminent tech destination in its own state - that distinction belongs to San Francisco and its Silicon Valley. But as more and more startups emerge with a technological core, the major cities of the U.S. are going to take notice. That's a good thing for talented job seekers and the employers who are looking for them.
Growth is there, but how much?
As recently as June 2015, the consensus was that LA's technology industry was on the up-and-up, reported The Los Angeles Times. What was harder to come by, however, was the evidence of that growth. City officials couldn't even agree upon what constituted a tech industry or tech workers. Uber and Lyft drivers, for example, worked for a tech company, but they don't work in technologically-advanced roles. Aerospace was huge, but was it tech, or should it be its own category altogether?
"There's no well-defined tech sector," Jerry Nickelsburg, an economics professor at UCLA, told The LA Times. "There's clearly a large and vibrant technology sector that runs across many traditional sectors in Los Angeles - that is clear. What that translates to in terms of employment and income - that's a little less clear."
While there's truth in proclaiming the City of Angels to be the state's next great tech hub, employers and officials would prefer to have hard numbers to back that claim in an effort to bring in more companies and candidates. Luckily, several organizations have taken up that task.
"The LA Tech scene is now stacked with leading companies," remarked Vimal Shyamji, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies office in Los Angeles. "All you have to do is drive down Jefferson in Playa, and you'll see Google, Microsoft and others building out campuses."
"There's truth in proclaiming the City of Angels to be the state's next great tech hub."
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. released the first tech jobs report in October 2014 to provide a better context with some hard evidence of jobs growth. The results were promising: 368,580 high-tech jobs in 2013, which accounted for 9 percent of all jobs in California and nearly 17 percent of all payroll wages. Another company, Upfront Ventures, researched the number of new startups and the investment money coming in to back them. Those numbers were also encouraging. In 2014, $2 billion went across 194 deals, a 25 percent increase from 2013.
"The real measure of the future economy is how many tech start-up jobs you have," Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures told The LA Times. "We've had a demonstrable improvement in the last five years."
Suster went on to say that there is certainly room for improvement in LA's tech scene, but if recent trends were any indication, there is also reason for optimism.
Which LA tech jobs are available?
In a healthy tech-based jobs market, employment occurs across the board: Startups, major corporations, established companies, organizations new to the area and every sector can contribute to job growth. In LA, these terms hold true. According to CBS Los Angeles, tech jobs are available with newly-relocated, big-name companies along with startups.
This across-the-board growth in Los Angeles is evident to Vimal Shyamji. "These companies are recognizing more and more that they have to go where the talent is. There are plenty of software engineers who want to live in LA, so the companies are now coming to them."
Web developers and software architects are in high demand in the law, finance, healthcare and marketing spaces. But these companies' presence won't just boost tech jobs, they will also provide opportunities for associates, administrators, entry level employees and managers. In this way, tech companies are beneficial to the entire job market architecture.
"We see continued demand for contractors in Distributed Systems Engineering (DevOps) due to companies wanting to take advantage of cost efficiencies, ability to streamline operations and have faster development and deployment timeframes," added Carla Andrea, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies office in Orange County. "There is a shortage of talent in the market."
What's happening in LA mirrors similar paradigm shifts in New York City, Boston, Houston and other large cities who have taken on a tech identity. Plus, as LA's tech sector grows, it will provide the kind of in-state rivalry with San Francisco that should drive innovation and employment even further.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.