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Chicago Tech Jobs Growth: It’s Even Better Than That

It’s great to see the recent CyberStates Report that Illinois’ technology industry is increasing jobs at a rate higher than the national average (See: Crains; Tribune). What’s even greater is that it does not capture the whole picture. With CyberStates, the TechAmerica Foundation does the most comprehensive job of providing an outlook on technology jobs in the country. There is no better national data. Unfortunately, their results are only as good as the data they have to work with it. Being government data it doesn’t capture the whole picture.

Cyberstates pulls the employment database on the classification of high-tech companies in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The system classifies companies as best they can but given that it’s a government program it can’t keep up with the industry. There are 2 issues with this model. (BTW – there isn’t a better model, unless you develop your own.)

First, it can’t classify technology companies that have a vertical bend to them. For example employment at firms such as Classified Ventures (NAICS: Directory and Mailing Lists), SurePayroll (NAICS: Payroll Preparation Services), Orbitz (NAICS: Travel), Dotomi (NACIS: Advertising) and OptionXpress (NACIS: Financial), IfbyPhone (NAICS: Telephone Answering Services) would not be included in this data.

Secondly, since they don’t pull by job type (nor do they portend to) they don’t capture anyone who is a “technology” worker at any corporation that isn’t high-tech (e.g. Wrigley). Chicago has big tech operations of multinational firms.

As Chicago has a very vertical technology community, the report can’t categorize us completely. Interestingly enough it’s the firms such as those above that are doing the most hiring right now. Companies are desperate to hire across the board and going gangbusters. Just look at the @itabuzz CityLIGHTS Winners and Finalists…just 32 companies plan to add over 2,000 new jobs in 2013!

Their data is a good start but there’s even more going on which is great thing for Chicago.

Just some food for thought. I welcome your comments.

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