Technology Disrupters Focused on Skilled IT Workforce Remain Strong Bets for 2021

Technology based economic disruption will remain a prime driver of company growth in 2021.  Creation of new use of technology tied to the adoption of new consumer behavior or the entrance of a major new market competitor create economic disruption.  The disruption economy allows companies and communities to redefine how and why they work to create a better way to serve employees who choose to work there because they believe in the company’s purpose.  Consumer products and the infrastructure upon which they operate increasingly sense their surroundings, communicate with other devices and people, and to draw on the computing and storage power of the cloud with connection to the Internet. IoT is a network which connects multiple smart devices enabled with software and network connectivity which exchanges information between each other and with the server. IoT is a billion-dollar market and is growing, continuously driven by technology’s integration into manufacturing, Smart Community development, and connectivity of consumer products to the digital age.

New data from Juniper Research has revealed that the number of IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices will number 38.5 billion in 2020, up from 13.4 billion in 2015: a rise of over 285%. The global autonomous vehicle market demand was estimated to be around 6.5 thousand units in the year 2019 and expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63.5% during the forecast period 2020 to 2027 according to Precedence Research.  The Global Fintech Market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of around 20% during the forecast period. The market is expected to witness progressive growth and reach the market value of around $ 305 billion by 2025 according to a Research & Markets report.  Retail IT company growth is expected to be off the charts driven by COVID 19’s impact on consumer’s use of the e-commerce.  COVID-19-related buying shifts added $153 billion to online retail this year. Ecommerce sales will reach $839.02 billion by the end of 2020 with an incredible 40.3% growth from 2019, Digital Commerce 360 estimates. That is the highest annual U.S. ecommerce growth in at least two decades. 

Illustrating the success of technology based, economic disrupters, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 531,200 new jobs, and demand for these workers will stem from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security.[i]  Large states such as California, Texas, Florida, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have the largest share of computer and information systems workers but tech success stories such as Washington state, Virginian and North Carolina are also heavy with IT workers.

The cost of a community’s technology workers impacts the region’s ability to compete for economic disrupters. A comparison listed in the chart below illustrates how worker wage rates are compared for regions under consideration for a corporate site location project. 


Regions looking to attract these growing economic disrupters should consider three strategies:

  • Grow your own. Companies such as Root Insurance who uses a smart phone app to market and process car insurance customers based in Columbus, Ohio are booming fueled at the start by local venture capitalists at Drive Capital that have raised over $1 B but now has launched the most successful IPO in the history of the Buckeye State;
  • IT industry based training programs.  Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and other tech  leaders are proactively building educational partnership to develop IT workers with efforts in  Arizona planning to develop 5000 cloud computing experts; and
  • IT workforce incentives.  States are using their economic development incentives to not only provide training dollars for technology companies but also to build larger partnerships to develop these workers like JobsOhio’s $50 M workforce initiative.

Technology based economic disrupters will continue to be the focus in 2021 as COVID 19 cannot stop the onward march of technology and is excelling this growth fueled by a larger use of e-commerce.