By Robert Evatt
Copyright © 2012, World Publishing Company., All Rights Reserved
Tulsa isn’t exactly known as a high-tech hotbed, but a new report suggests that could be changing.
Metro Tulsa was No. 24 on a list of the 25 areas with the most technology-employment growth in 2010 and 2011, according to Engine Advocacy, a tech-oriented political advocacy organization.
Specifically, Tulsa was estimated to have had a 7.6 percent increase in high-tech jobs in those years compared to growth of 2.6 percent for the nation as a whole.
Greensboro-High Point, N.C., posted a tech-job growth rate of 36.3 percent, the highest increase in the nation.
Tulsa still has plenty of catching up to do, according to the report. Tech jobs in Oklahoma only account for an estimated 2 percent to 3.5 percent of total private sector employment, compared to a national average of 5.6 percent.
The state’s relatively low tech employment numbers are a concern, said David Thomison, vice president of investments for i2E Inc., a not-for-profit corporation focused on helping high-growth companies in Oklahoma.
“In the past, we have not had risk capital sources available for early-stage technology companies,” he said. “That has begun to change, as we’ve seen formation of capital to allow that sector to grow.”
Those efforts, along with renewed demand for improved technology for energy exploration, have encouraged growth in Tulsa.
“I’m not surprised Tulsa is in the upper end of growth because there’s been a concerted effort in the public and private sector to encourage well-paying tech job creation,” Thomison said.
Top metro areas for tech job growth, 2010-2011
1. Greensboro-High Point, NC 36.3%
2. Columbia, SC 28.2%
3. Dayton, Ohio 24.2%
4. San Francisco-San Mateo- Redwood City 20.1%
5. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah 19.3%
6. Lansing-East Lansing, Mich. 17.6%
7. Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. 13.5%
8. Wilmington, Del.-Md.- N.J. 13.4%
9. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas 12.8%
10. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. 12.5%
24. Tulsa 7.6%
Source: Engine Advocacy