County touts tech job growth in new report

Miami Herald

The leaders of Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s One Community, One Goal initiative announced Monday that job growth in its high-paying target industries remained on track — but the latest data also show they are not keeping up with growth in non-target ones.

In its presentation to the community, the co-chairs of OCOG said they were in the midst of their listening tour, designed to teach them how to better attract and retain talent in the area.

Those talent recruitment efforts appear to have paid off last week, with the news that Icahn Enterprises, the namesake firm of Wall Street titan Carl Icahn, would be moving its offices to the area.

That would give a much-needed boost to jobs in finance, which have only grown 3 percent since 2012, to 39,502 jobs, according to the latest OCOG data.

The fastest-growing sector among target industries remained tech, where jobs have climbed 58 percent since 2012 — though tech started from a lower base of approximately 8,000 jobs when OCOG kicked off seven years ago. Today the county’s tech sector counts more than 13,000 jobs, the OCOG data show.

Overall growth in target industries — which also include aviation, creative design, hospitality, life sciences, and trade and logistics — held at 19 percent since 2012, not statistically significant from the 18 percent growth measured last year.

But as a share of the county’s overall jobs base, target-industry occupations dipped this year, from 34.1 percent of all county jobs in 2018 to 33.7 in 2019.

In their prepared remarks, OCOG leaders did not address that data point. Instead, Miami-Dade Mayor and OCOG co-chair Carlos Gimenez heralded the more than 200,000 jobs in all industries created in the county since 2012. At the same time, he acknowledged that issues like affordability, resiliency, and transportation remained a focus. He said he had received an invite from a company researching taxi drones in Germany that he said could help alleviate some of those in the future.

In a fireside chat, SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure, who now splits his time between Miami and SoftBank’s headquarters in Tokyo, emphasized the need for the Miami area to get the types of big wins that have shaken up other major mid-sized metros like Pittsburgh, which now plays host to a suite of self-driving car initiatives.

Miami faces an especially difficult challenge in attracting talent, he said in a follow-up interview, because its industry base is so young and still relatively small.

“It’s not enough to just give them a beautiful place to live,” he said. “You have to give them the intellectual challenge they demand.”