CorSource Blog

Anticipating the 2019 Portland Tech Industry

by Andrew Hermann on January 9, 2019 in Job Search, Tech Industry

15-Second Overview:

  • The Portland Tech industry performed strongly in 2018 and is poised for record growth in 2019
  • Established companies and startups, alongside smart city initiatives, are fueling the region’s activity
  • Rapid growth will continue to create talent shortages that change the fabric of tech roles


With holiday parties behind us and 2018 in the record books, all eyes are focused on 2019. Portland’s tech industry is one of the country’s hottest arenas for businesses and professionals alike, drawing in large amounts of investment and talent on a daily basis. Let’s review 2018’s big wins and what they indicate for the Portland technology sector this year.


Poised for Record Growth

The Silicon Valley exodus is happening, fueling development as businesses flock to cities like Portland. Best yet, tech pros who arrive here continue to grow in their expertise. Portland State University has responded to this influx of talent by implementing more certification, lifelong learning, and co-op programs that can provide continuous professional development. Further, while other cities boast huge corporate headquarters or an exciting startup scene, Portland is home to both. For that reason, strong activity across the board in 2018 (outlined below) will provide momentum throughout 2019 and create a healthy demand for nearly every kind of tech skill.


Established Player Movements:

  • The Adidas headquarters in Portland continues to expand as its area workforce has more than doubled in three years.
  • Rival Nike is on the same page, spending a reported $1 billion on a new state-of-the-art headquarters. Even when it announced job cuts in 2017, it did so to better focus on innovation, underscoring tech jobs as those with the greatest job security and most demand.
  • Columbia Sportswear achieved a record quarter in 2018 and saw its stock go up 31% in one year.
  • Intel, Salesforce, and eBay, all of which have strong presences in Portland, are named among the highest-paying companies in tech.


Startup Scene Growth:

  • Inc. names Portland as a top 10 city for starting a new business. Rankings were based on population growth, wage growth, rate of entrepreneurship, job creation, and more.
  • WeWork announced plans to open a Portland startup incubator that will accommodate up to 25 companies and connect them to other accelerators around the world.
  • Software companies in Portland are thriving, with Jama Software raising $200 million. Even though it was sold to a larger company, such acquisitions indicate that companies are seeking ways to secure their spot and grow in the attractive Portland market.
  • Dell’s top venture investor and Oregon-native Scott Darling sees “tremendous opportunity” for high-skilled and well-paying Portland jobs. He went so far to suggest that “there’s no problem getting capital in Portland anymore” and views the area’s growth as great for businesses, workers, and the state.


A Smart City Gets Smarter

Given its status as the Silicon Forest, it’s no surprise that Portland continues to be at the forefront of “smart city” initiatives. The city piloted the concept of shared electric scooters, recently completing an in-depth survey that other locations can learn from. Portland is home to its own Transportation Technology Research group, as well as a Bureau of Transportation that increasingly relies on technology. Whether it’s new traffic safety sensors, a 911 call location identification system, or other Smart City PDX projects, the city is a proactive one that believes technology should happen for us rather than to us. Expect these initiatives to expand further in 2019 as Portland leads America into the future.


Roles Adapt Accordingly

All this activity is generating extremely high demand for technical talent, and, even coupled with tech pros moving to Portland in droves, still creates a distinct skills shortage. As a result, 91% of companies are adopting more agile talent strategies and expect work done by contingent labor to increase 179% in the next 10 years. With more jobs than people to fill them, along with the decreasing tenure of tech pros, temporary staff is a practical way to raise headcount for specialized skills while increasing flexibility. In other words, many companies are adapting to the new Talent Economy in Portland by looking at their workforce holistically through strategies such as Staffing Lifecycle Management that promote a healthier mix of tech staff augmentation, solutions consulting, and software services.


The 2019 Portland Tech Industry

There’s a lot of technology activity in Portland, and that’s what makes it such an exciting city for those in the industry. At the same time, when so much is going on it can be difficult for tech pros to decide which opportunity best fits their career and harder still for hiring managers vying for technical talent’s attention. Regardless of which you are, make the right decisions and you can have a blockbuster 2019 here in the Silicon Forest.


Whether you’re looking for your next great tech role or seek skilled technical talent, CorSource is the answer.


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