2017 Regional IT Jobs Reports

2017 IT jobs report: North Central region

Although tech salaries in the North Central region lag behind those in some other parts of the country, the job market is heating up.

Chicago, Illinois

2017 Regional IT Jobs Reports

Show More

This IT jobs report covers Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. (Also see our reports for the Pacific, Mountain, South Central, Northeast and Southeast regions.)

Job market snapshot

Chicago-based kCura, an e-discovery software company, is rapidly growing. And with most of its 700 or so positions being tech jobs, that’s putting a lot of pressure on chief people officer Dorie Ellzey Blesoff to find workers with engineering, tech support and other enterprise IT skills fast enough to fill the posts.

Despite the heated competition for tech talent that exists nationwide, Blesoff says she has a few factors working in her favor. First, she says, is the buzz around Chicago becoming a tech hub, with employers and various organizations working to draw technologists to the city and its environs. “It’s a really energetic place right now. We have a strong startup culture, incubated over the past several years by the state,” she says, adding that established companies are increasingly locating offices in the city, too.

Blesoff says prospects also come to the Upper Midwest for many traditional reasons: its culture of hard work, discipline and community; its geographic beauty and the lure of the Great Lakes; and its cities’ offerings of hip music, food and cultural scenes coupled with a low cost of living.

Although the region has its draws, competition for IT workers is stiff, says Blake Angove, director of technology services for The LaSalle Network, a professional staffing and recruiting firm in Chicago. “It’s a candidate-driven market,” he says, noting that demand for developers, cybersecurity professionals and network engineers with cloud experience is particularly high.

Companies often want to hire these workers full time, yet find that the workers want to work on a contract basis because they can make more money and gain more experience that way, Angove says.

Dave Piwowar, vice president of HR at Detroit-based tech firm Secure-24, tells a similar story about the job market in his city and the region as a whole. “It has always been challenging to find IT talent,” he says, pointing out that Michigan’s unemployment rate for IT workers has been consistently under 4% for the last decade. Specialties in particularly high demand include cyber defense and ethical hacking as well as positions dealing with virtualization and automation, he says.

Piwowar expects business trends will continue to fuel competition for tech workers. “With the current environment of digital transformation, organizations have become more dependent on technology and automation, which increases the demand for skilled IT professionals,” he says, adding that today’s reliance on technology means “the computer programmer and the help desk analyst are the new blue-collar worker.”

Like others in the Upper Midwest, Piwowar says the region has several factors that work in its favor as it competes for talent. The region’s low cost of living helps, as does the presence of growth markets such as health, robotics and automation. Closer to home, he says, Michigan’s strong education system and the revitalization of Detroit, which has attracted large organizations like Google and Amazon to open facilities there, also draw workers.

IT salaries: National vs. North Central region

Average 2017 total compensation (base salary + bonus)

See Computerworld's IT Salary Watch for lots more information about tech salaries this year.

Best Places to Work in IT 2017: North Central region

Twenty-seven employers from the North Central region were named to Computerworld's 100 Best Places to Work in IT list for 2017. Click on any company name to see its employer profile.

See the full Best Places to Work in IT 2017 report.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon