If the pandemic had never happened, Nashville’s tech scene likely would have grown over the past year. But the economic effects of COVID have catapulted Nashville’s technology scene to heights few would have predicted a year ago.
The number of technology jobs in Middle Tennessee grew by 51 percent from 2015 to 2020 — outpacing national tech job growth by 32 percent, statewide tech job growth by 13 percent and overall job growth in Middle Tennessee by 41 percent, according to a joint report from the Greater Nashville Technology Council and Middle Tennessee State University.
The need for technology platforms to help people work, shop, learn and interact with friends and family, all from home, skyrocketed in 2020. The number of monthly technology job postings did too, especially in Nashville.
In 2020, the average number of new monthly job postings across all tech occupations in the region was just shy of 14,500 — nearly 10 percent higher than the national average for an area this size.
"These numbers confirm what we already know: Nashville is, and will continue to be, one of the hottest places for tech work in the country,” tech council CEO Brian Moyer said in a release.
Experts expect the growth to continue. Over the next five years, the report projects Middle Tennessee will surpass the nation in tech job growth by between 8 and 12 percent. The report also predicts that tech job growth in the region will continue to lead the state with a 10 percent growth rate.
Moyer wants to exceed those expectations and double the tech workforce in Middle Tennessee by 2025. In an effort to do so, the GNTC launched a nationwide campaign — TechIntoNashville — which aims to recruit top tech talent from six cities: Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Per the report, Middle Tennessee’s tech sector has a higher concentration of women (40.1%) than the tech workforce in the state (36.8%) and the country (39%). Non-white (Asian, Black and Hispanic/Latino) workers hold more tech jobs in Middle Tennessee (22.7%) than in the state (22.4%), but both trail behind the nation, which has 36.2% non-white workers in tech. Some sectors of the local tech scene are hoping to boost those numbers, and a local chapter of national organization Blacks in Technology was founded in recent weeks.
“Representation for women and minorities continues to be an issue in tech, but the Middle Tennessee tech sector has proven itself to be an inclusive place, especially for women,” said Amy Harris, associate professor of information systems and analytics at MTSU. “Relatively low cost of living paired with above-average wages and thousands of open positions has made Middle Tennessee’s tech sector very accessible, and workers of all backgrounds and from all over the country are taking notice.”