Silicon Valley Employment Trends Through 2016

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Figure 4: Silicon Valley Employment by Tier, 2001 – Q4 2016

Employment by Tier data are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and modified slightly by JobsEQ & EMSI to remove suppressions and reorganize public sector employment. 2016 data are estimates based on QCEW 2016 Q4 employment at the industry level using 2016 Q1 data, and updated based on 2016 Q4 reported growth and totals reported, and modified slightly by JobsEQ & EMSI. Occupational segmentation into Tiers has been recently adopted by the California Employment Development Department (EDD), and implemented over the last several years by BW Research for regional occupational analysis. Occupational segmentation allows for the in-depth examination of the quality and quantity of jobs in a given economy. This occupational segmentation technique delineates the majority of occupations into one of three Tiers. Tier 1 Occupations include managers (Chief Executives, Financial Managers, and Sales Managers), professional positions (Lawyers, Accountants, and Physicians) and highly-skilled technical occupations, such as Scientists, Computer Programmers, and Engineers, and are typically the highest-paying, highest-skilled occupations in the economy. Tier 2 Occupations include sales positions (Sales Representatives), teachers, and librarians, office and administrative positions (Accounting Clerks and Secretaries), and manufacturing, operations, and production positions (Assemblers, Electricians, and Machinists). They have historically provided the majority of employment opportunities and may be referred to as middle-wage, middle-skill positions. Tier 3 Occupations include protective services (Security Guards), food service and retail positions (Waiters, Cooks, and Cashiers), building and grounds cleaning positions (Janitors), and personal care positions (Home Health Aides and Child Care Workers). These occupations typically represent lower-skilled service positions with lower wages that require little formal training and/or education. In 2017, average wages (assuming a 40 hour work week for the entire year) were $56.88 per hour or approximately $118,300 per year for Tier 1 occupations, $26.07 per hour or approximately $54,200 per year for Tier 2 occupations, and $13.18 per hour or approximately $27,400 per year for Tier 3 occupations.

Definitions of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 jobs are included in Appendix A.

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