This paper examines job growth at leading tech/telecom firms. We compare them to leading industrial firms, both in the first half of the 20th century and in the post-war era, and show that they have similar employment trajectories. Then we consider wage and industrial structure trends. We find that real wages in the tech/ telecom sector are higher and rising faster than in the physical sector. To correct for composition effects, we examine detailed occupational categories and find that, for middle-skill occupations such as sales and office support, the tech/telecom sector has significantly higher wages than the physical sector.
This paper incorporates and updates portions of earlier reports and blog posts, including: “A Historical Perspective on Tech Job Growth” (January 2017); “The Creation of a New Middle Class?: A Historical and Analytic Perspective on Job and Wage Growth in the Digital Sector, Part I” (March 2017); and “Do today’s tech/telecom companies employ too few workers?” (June 2017).