facebook app skip to content
Primary navigation

High Wages, High Demand:Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services Subsector in the Twin Cities

by Tim O'Neill
June 2018

PDF of article

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.

An Assortment of Specialized Industries

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

Legal Services

1,580

14,993

82.2%

$107,224

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

High Demand, High Wage

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

25th

75th

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

Lawyers

9,210

82.4

$37.80

$54.43

Graduate 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.

back to top