The growing tech industry in the seven-county Milwaukee area had a $27.6 billion impact on the region in 2017, according to a new study released by Northwestern Mutual Tuesday.
The study, called Milwaukee’s Tech Talent Impact, was conducted by Austin, Texas-based TIP Strategies in partnership with the San Antonio-based Huls Group. The study was supported by 20 employers and nonprofit partners in the seven-county region, including Advocate Aurora Health Care, Foxconn, gener8tor, Johnson Controls, Kohl’s, MillerCoors, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Northwestern Mutual and Rockwell Automation.
TIP Strategies developed the study based on data from the Computing Technology Industry Association, the Brookings Institute and input from local employers.
According to Milwaukee’s study, the region’s tech ecosystem comprises 5,300 companies and 76,000 workers in 89 distinct occupations, with about 75 percent of those jobs involving computer/mathematical positions, engineering positions and business/financial positions. Those workers collectively make an estimated $4.7 billion in income each year.
“Technology is rapidly accelerating the pace of change and the need for talent across many industries,” said John Schlifske, chairman and CEO of Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual, in a statement. “This study demonstrates the increasing economic impact of technology talent in our region and helps us better understand the needs for future growth. The private industry sector is committed to attracting and retaining tech talent, which will help position Milwaukee for success in a digital future.”
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The report also shows tech jobs grew 8 percent between 2010 and 2017 in the region, compared with 7.1 percent for all occupations. Within the next five years, an estimated 31,000 tech jobs will be available across the region due to the amount of people retiring or changing careers.
The tech positions with the highest growth rate in the Milwaukee region are market research analysts, management analysts, computer system analysts, software developers, mechanical engineers and computer and information systems managers, per the Milwaukee report.
“Southeastern Wisconsin is no longer just a manufacturing region,” said Nick Turkal, president and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health. “Our call to action is for employers, higher education and workforce development agencies to make investing in our digital workers and emerging technologies across all fields, including health care, a top priority for the region.”
The economic impact figure in the Tech Talent report differs immensely from a recent CompTIA report, which stated tech contributed $6.9 billion to Milwaukee’s economy in 2017. Milwaukee’s study, however, “goes beyond the traditional definition” of a tech cluster, which typically measures tech manufacturing and services directly associated with information technology, the report said. Instead, the report looks at the major employers and industries in the region that depend on tech talent. Those companies and industries are defined as companies that have 15 percent or more of their workforce comprised of tech jobs.
“Today’s advanced manufacturing jobs that are being created in southeastern Wisconsin and nationally require strong technical skills,” said Blake Moret, chairman and CEO of Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK). “Building and maintaining this skilled manufacturing workforce can be achieved through lifelong learning, competency-based, multi-media instruction, and partnerships between learning centers and manufacturers. Adopting this successful approach will help us develop the tech talent that’s required to meet our region’s growing needs.”