Orlando is a top city for STEM job growth: Here’s why

August 12, 2020 | Market Insights

Learn why Orlando STEM job growth is on the rise, and what it means for the local multifamily market

Step aside, San Francisco!

According to the latest STEM job growth report, Orlando is among the top U.S. cities for job growth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) industries.

The City Beautiful beat out established markets like San Francisco, San Jose, and New York to land the #7 spot on RCLCO’s 4th annual STEM Job Growth Index, or “STEMdex”. [1]

The judging criteria behind Orlando’s ranking

RCLCO’s STEMdex tracks STEM job growth momentum, not just to identify where these jobs are today, but where they might be going in the future based on changing local economies, migration of young households, and the presence of other factors that have historically been correlated with STEM job growth. [1]

2020 marks Orlando’s first time in the top ten

Jumping up seven places from #14 in the 2019 rankings, Orlando STEM job growth is predicted to have long-term relevance for the city.

The 2020 report draws attention to several reasons for Orlando’s success, including:

– The significant degree of young professional migration and wage growth

– Relatively affordable cost of living compared to other cities in the index

– Newly opened Amazon facilities in the region, and

– Lake Nona’s “Medical City” – a hotbed of medical research and other healthcare-oriented jobs. [1]

Elsewhere in Florida, Tampa made the cut for the first time. The index places them at #18, forecasting that the city will continue to experience strong population growth, especially among young, highly educated professionals.

The top 20 metropolitan areas in full are as follows:



The importance of high-tech job growth

STEM occupations are forecast to grow at a rate of over 76% higher than non-STEM job growth nationwide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. [1]

Along with this increased prevalence, high-tech jobs are important for the region because they offer significantly higher wages. The average wage for a high-tech job in Orlando is $83,000, almost double the area’s average annual salary of $44,900. [2]

At a time when the Central Florida tourism industry is being ravaged—resulting in the loss of thousands of leisure, hospitality, and retail jobs—the strengthening of the local tech industry is especially important because it helps to diversify the region’s economy. 

Related blog:

How COVID-19 has driven the adoption of new technology in multifamily

What Orlando STEM job growth means for the multifamily market

STEM occupations, with their typically lower rates of unemployment and higher wages, may prove to be more resilient as the country emerges from the COVID-19 crisis. For multifamily owners, this is promising news as professionals with STEM occupations often prove to be quality, long-term tenants. 

We may see another change locally as many STEM-related jobs transition toward continued (and in some cases, permanent) remote working. Multifamily owners with properties outside of the central business district may begin to see increased interest, as many prospective tenants will no longer need to live close to their downtown place of work.

Stay informed

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1: 2020 STEM Job Growth Index | RCLCO Real Estate Advisors

2: Study: Tech’s highest paying jobs include non-tech positions | Orlando Business Journal

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