by Tim O'Neill
The professional, scientific and technical services subsector is the fastest-growing industry in the Twin Cities.
With 10,472 establishments supplying nearly 125,000 jobs, professional, scientific and technical services (a subsector of professional and business services) is one of the largest and most highly-specialized industries in the Twin Cities. It also happens to be the region’s fastest-growing industry, according to the most recent data available from 2012 to 2017. This article examines the professional, scientific and technical services subsector in the Metro Planning Region.
So what exactly is professional, scientific and technical services? According to the North American Industry Classification System, the subsector comprises businesses that specialize in a variety of activities, including legal advice and representation; accounting, bookkeeping and payroll; architectural, engineering and specialized design; computers; consulting; research; advertising; photography; translation and interpretation; and veterinary services.1 Specific industries within professional, scientific and technical services include those listed in Table 1.
|Table 1. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services in the Metro Area, 2017|
|Industry Title||Number of Establishments||Number of Jobs||Share of Minnesota Employment||Average Annual Wage|
|Total, All Industries||79,538||1,732,448||60.7%||$62,816|
|Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||10,472||124,798||78.0%||$96,720|
|Computer Systems Design and Related Services||2,109||28,723||78.4%||$104,312|
|Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services||1,757||26,117||87.9%||$111,540|
|Architectural, Engineering and Related Services||1,037||17,782||77.8%||$87,984|
|Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services||1,140||10,368||66.1%||$79,612|
|Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Services||1,533||9,609||61.1%||$58,604|
|Advertising and Related Services||666||9,421||81.0%||$80,756|
|Scientific Research and Development Services||203||6,116||81.6%||$118,976|
|Specialized Design Services||447||1,667||83.6%||$69,472|
|Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages|
With over 28,700 jobs, computer systems design and related services is the largest-employing professional, scientific and technical services subsector in the Twin Cities. Jobs within this industry include writing, modifying, testing and supporting software to meet customer needs; planning and designing computer systems that integrate computer hardware, software and communication technologies; providing on-site management and operation of client computer systems or data processing facilities; and installing software. This industry has the highest concentration of information technology jobs in the Twin Cities and the state.
Over 26,000 jobs in the subsector are in management, scientific and technical consulting services. Typical occupations within this industry include management analysts, market research analysts, general and operations managers, customer service representatives and statisticians. These workers provide operating and financial advice to businesses, human resources assistance, marketing and sales forecasting, or environmental evaluations, among other services.
It should be noted that while the Metro accounts for 60.7 percent of Minnesota's total employment, it accounts for 87.9 percent of the state's employment within management, scientific and technical consulting services. Zooming out, the Metro Planning Region accounts for 78 percent of the state's professional, scientific and technical services employment (see Table 1).
Other high-employing industries include architectural, engineering and related services; legal services; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services; and advertising and related services. The majority of occupations within these industries, whether it's a civil engineer or a lawyer, require higher education. In fact, DEED's fourth quarter 2017 job vacancy results reveal that 60 percent of professional and technical services job vacancies in the Metro require a bachelor's degree or more. By comparison, 19 percent of all job vacancies require a bachelor's degree or more.2
Between 2012 and 2017, professional, scientific and technical services added nearly 23,000 jobs, growing by 22.5 percent. This subsector grew 2.5 times as fast as total employment in the region, which expanded by 8.9 percent.
Adding just under 14,600 jobs, management, scientific and technical consulting services contributed the most to the subsector's growth during the five-year period, expanding by an incredible 126.7 percent. Computer systems design and related services and architectural, engineering and related services added 3,244 jobs and 2,932 jobs, respectively, during the period. Only legal services lost jobs, declining by 2.7 percent.
In addition to being large and fast-growing, professional, scientific and technical services is also high-paying. The average annual wage for the sector was $96,720 in 2017, or 54 percent higher than wages for all industries combined in the Metro.
Common occupations within this subsector, such as software developers, accountants, engineers and lawyers, all have high median wages. Most of these occupations require a bachelor's degree or more (see Table 2).
|Table 2. Top-Employing Occupations within Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services|
|Industry||Estimated Number of Jobs||Metro Share of MN Jobs (Percent)||Percentile Wage||Typical Education Required|
|Total, All Occupations||1,769,290||62.3||$14.20||$34.43||-|
|Accountants and Auditors||18,330||76.5||$26.96||$32.67||Bachelor's degree|
|Office Clerks, General||33,570||60.2||$13.51||$22.10||High School Diploma or Equivalent|
|Software Developers, Applications||15,190||87.7||$34.28||$56.13||Bachelor's degree|
|Legal Secretaries||2,610||74.1||$22.50||$28.72||High School Diploma or Equivalent|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||4,310||85.9||$20.07||$34.35||Associate Degree|
|Computer Systems Analysts||14,670||88.2||$34.47||$43.77||Bachelor's Degree|
|Management Analysts||12,090||88.4||$28.60||$49.14||Bachelor's Degree|
|General and Operations Managers||29,620||65.2||$34.19||$73.53||Bachelor's Degree|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||19,000||59.2||$17.98||$25.27||High School Diploma or Equivalent|
|Sales Representatives, Services, All Other||16,550||77.4||$20.42||$39.04||No Typical Education Requirement|
|Customer Service Representatives||41,960||73.3||$15.28||$24.02||High School Diploma or Equivalent|
|Business Operations Specialists, All Other||18,630||80.2||$25.37||$42.96||No Typical Education Requirement|
|Software Developers, Systems Software||6,200||75.7||$44.55||$67.64||Bachelor's Degree|
|Computer User Support Specialists||9,180||75.0||$21.28||$32.99||Associate Degree|
|Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists||12,230||83.6||$25.77||$43.62||Bachelor's Degree|
|Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants||9,090||73.8||$22.87||$32.86||High School Diploma or Equivalent|
|Civil Engineers||3,930||80.4||$32.45||$50.78||Bachelor's Degree|
|Computer Programmers||3,700||74.7||$28.49||$48.35||Bachelor's Degree|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||7,930||83.0||$55.04||$82.17||Bachelor's Degree|
|Source: DEED Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), Occupational Staffing Patterns, Educational Requirements for Occupations|
1North American Industry Classification System, United States Census Bureau, Aug. 17, 2016, www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/. Accessed June 12, 2018.
2North American Industry Classification System, United States Census Bureau, Aug. 17, 2016, www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/. Accessed June 12, 2018.