When we talk about “IT workforce”, it is easy to associate it with “big private tech companies” and “promising salaries”. But what about the government tech workforce? How much do you know about it? What are the differences between the workforces in the private and state tech sectors? This article will give a brief overview of the government technology workforce and how it has changed over the past decade and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past decade, the state and local tech workforce has grown. Staffing levels overall have increased by 8.7%. Over 60% of states have witnessed a growth in the number of tech workers. Nebraska, Nevada, Minnesota are seeing a dramatic growth, over 30%. Some are having steady growth, such as Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Although the industry’s continuous growth may peak in 2020 - the number of tech jobs in state and local governments fell in 2021, the first time since 2014 - slowed by the pandemic. Overall, over the past 10 years, the government tech workforce has increased dramatically, especially in positions of cybersecurity and user support.
As the overall size of the labor market increased, so did the salaries of its workers. Government tech salaries have mostly kept pace with the increasing trend of the nationwide median salary. Nevertheless, government tech workers earn less than their private sector counterparts. In almost every state, average private-sector pay for computer scientists and technologists is higher. Private sector salaries peaked at six digits for the first time in 2021, averaging $101,370 annually. Salary in state and local government is 80% of that, at $81,805 per year.
Regarding the types of work, the industry is heading to more information security and user support as the number of roles dedicated to these two areas has grown in state and local government agencies over the past decade. In 2011, only 2.3% of the workforce were in positions of information security. Now, this small segment has increased by nearly 90% in the past 10 years.