Tech sector wages continue to soar in South Carolina

We Stand For Progress Reports Nov. 16, 2018, 2:06pm

A recent report by Charleston Digital Corridor shows that tech job salaries are continuing to rise each year.

Ernest Andrade, the executive director of Charleston Digital Corridor, said the area economy's focus on the tech industry has raised wages for the region, which was its intended effect.

"What's happening now is there's a situation where there are more jobs than a supply of workers," Andrade said in an interview with Palmetto Business Daily. "That pushes demand. It puts pressure on the existing wage structure and causes the rates to go up, which is exactly what we want to accomplish — to raise the per-capita wages. It's having its intended effect."

According to the report, the average per-capita wages in South Carolina in 2018 are $42,240 and the average in the Charleston region is $44,970. In the digital corridor, the average per capita wages in 2018 are $91,105. Wages have increased by approximately $5,300 since the 2017 survey.

Andrade said because the wages are so high, companies in the area can get more qualified and experienced people from outside of the community who can come to companies inside the region. 

"It's a pretty enlightened approach," Andrade said. "Except for the fact that we're not generating enough talent to support the industry, but that's not just our area. That's global at this point."

Andrade said the data has been both consistent and positive.

"It consistently tracks right around 2 times the per-capita wage levels for the region and the state," Andrade said. "Consistently, well over 75 percent of the respondents continue to acknowledge that they have hired in their year of survey and will continue to hire into the following year."

Andrade said the area is starting to see a trend where national companies are opening up offices in Charleston, and that will continue to expand.

"We'll probably see more wage growth," Andrade said. "I think it's important to note that the investment that has been made by the community is starting to pay off."

Andrade said it reinforces a decision made 20 years ago.

"We're seeing the results of a very well-thought through strategy made 20 years ago. It reinforces that this is an important sector," Andrade said.

Charleston Digital Corridor says more than 92 percent of the companies that participated reported they were adding jobs in 2018 and expecting to continue hiring into the next year. 

The annual survey has been done by Charleston Digital Corridor since 2004.

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