Orange County Partnership - News

Key Factors that Companies Looking for New STEM Sector Locations Should Consider

The growth of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) sector has been impressive both in the U.S., New York State and in the greater Hudson Valley.


Labor analysts predict that the growth trend will continue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM occupations are expected to increase by 10.5% from 2020-2030. Non-STEM occupations are projected to grow by a 7.5% rate during that same 10-year period.


The median annual wage for STEM jobs in 2021 was $95,420, while non-STEM occupations posted a median salary of less than half at $40,120.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that computer occupations represent approximately two-thirds of the predicted STEM job growth during 2020-2030, while jobs in security and software development are both expected to produce job growth of more than 20%. Demand for engineers in the U.S. is expected to increase 15%.


Locations such as Austin, TX and Raleigh-Durham, NC have benefitted from STEM growth, but operational costs there have begun to rise due to the high demand.


Recently, Darin Buelow, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP in the Real Estate & Location Strategy practice, and Alex Dunlap, a consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP in the Real Estate & Location Strategy practice, authored an article entitled “Where’s The Talent? Finding The Next Set of Emerging Tech Locations” published at


Buelow and Dunlap provided more growth data for the sector and the dilemma companies face in filling STEM positions. “Companies need and will continue to need this kind of talent in an ever-virtualizing world. Trouble is, many are unable to recruit STEM talent in sufficient numbers in the labor markets surrounding their existing locations. In some cases, the talent is there but has become increasingly expensive due to years of wage escalation; in others, suitable tech labor to support growth simply doesn’t exist in the area,” they wrote.


In addition, they noted that some companies are filling vacant posts by allowing employees to work-from-home or remote work. However, other businesses are focused on face-to-face collaboration and interaction between STEM team members.


While some companies have “followed the herd” to hot STEM locations, such as Austin, TX, they now face higher costs and a depleted talent pool in those markets.


Buelow and Dunlap offered three key recommendations for companies looking to find new locations that would attract a STEM workforce.


Those recommendations are that locations:


1.     “Have the workers with the target skills already present in the geography. This can be assessed by looking at the current STEM occupation location quotient (LQ). The U.S. as a whole will represent an LQ of 1.0, while every city’s LQ will be greater or less than 1, revealing that metro’s relative density of STEM occupations compared to the U.S. average.


2.     Will have a robust supply of the workers with the target skills in the future. This may be assessed by analyzing college graduates with STEM degrees, projected population growth, demographic trends and other factors.


3.     Are attracting talent with the target skills to move to the geography. Indicators often focus on the inflow of talent; look for positive net migration statistics, especially among those with desired skillsets.”



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