PALM BAY — Palm Bay has been named No. 1 for tech salaries on a list of 100 U.S. cities, according to an online study.
Business.org, an online publication focused on small business issues, researched the 2017 average tech salaries for metro areas and drilled down on the highest-paying cities in those areas.
“Tech salaries are exploding in major metro cities across the U.S.—in some cases, more than doubling the average local income of those outside the technology sector,” the business.org article said.
The study looked at the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro area and found that Palm Bay’s average annual tech salary in 2017 was $159,390, which was more than three times the average state salary of $50,860.
“We knew that tech salaries were higher because of the demand for high-tech professionals in the aerospace and defense contracting,” said Andy Anderson, Palm Bay’s economic development and external affairs director. “The competition for these kinds of employees is fierce.”
After the cancellation of the space shuttle program, which formally ended in 2011, community leaders in Brevard County shifted their focus to attracting a diverse group of aerospace, defense and tech companies to the Space Coast.
“These efforts have been incredibly successful and the continued growth of major companies such as Harris, and the expansion of Raytheon, will continue to snowball into more growth and opportunity in the tech sector here,” Mr. Anderson said. “Palm Bay is currently working closely with companies who are looking to expand here due to the high concentration of skilled tech employees available.”
Mr. Anderson expects small businesses that support large corporations like Harris and Raytheon will also see expansion opportunities.
“The strong aerospace and tech industry in the county strengthens the local economy, resulting in more jobs in other industries as well,” he said.
The cost of living in each of the metro areas was not factored into the business.org research; however, organizers said, “It should be noted that most of the top cities on the list are not cheap places to live.”
That doesn’t appear to be the case for Palm Bay. In a livability.com study published in March of this year, Palm Bay was ranked among the top six most affordable cities in Florida.
Other cities in the top five included Syracuse, N.Y., with an average tech salary of $117,000, Dayton, Ohio, ($116,200), San Francisco, ($113,078), San Jose, Ca., ($112,763) and Durham, N.C., ($112,450).
“This kind of recognition is great for our area, helping to foster growth and expansion not just in the tech industry but overall economic health of the community,” said Mr. Anderson.
Recognizing the growing technology industry, the city of Palm Bay established a dedicated Economic Development and External Affairs Division in 2015 to facilitate growth and advocate for the city’s growing pool of tech employees.