Digital wallets and contactless cards dominate the retail space in the United Kingdom. I know this from personal experience, having recently returned from a vacation in England where I got to experience the coronation of King Charles III up close. Well, not in person, but in the same country, anyway. Be it in London or in the Cotswolds, a largely farming region west of London where I had the good fortune to spend some time, contactless or tap-and-go payment options abound. In fact, I can only remember one instance where I used cash, and that was purely by choice. Every time I took the London Underground, better known as the Tube, or shopped in supermarkets, I paid with a contactless card. At restaurants and pubs, I used the tap-and-go method to check out with a handheld device the server brought to the table. Doing so was quick and easy, making me wish it were more widespread here in the U.S. According to data from British bank Barclays, contactless users across all age groups made an average of 220 tap-and-go transactions last year, up from around 180 in 2021. The bank analyzed consumer card spending data in the U.K. from Barclays debit card and Barclaycard credit card transactions to make the findings. If I were still in England, my contactless card usage probably would be daily. Whether my pub visits would be as frequent, I simply can’t say.
The State of the Tech Workforce report from the Computing Technology Industry Association, an information technology certification and training group, noted Missouri’s net tech employment reached 153,419 in 2022, a 1.3% increase from the previous year. Net tech employment primarily comprises tech professionals working in technical positions, such as IT support, software development and network engineering, along with business professionals employed by tech companies. The state’s net employment ranked 19th in the country.
CompTIA forecasts a 2.8% increase in tech employment for Missouri in 2023 – more than 4,200 net new jobs. Positions in software development, programming, web development, quality assurance, database, data science, analytics, cybersecurity and systems engineers are projected to see the most growth in Missouri this year.
In the U.S., the report forecasts another roughly 272,000 new tech jobs for this year, which would increase the workforce to 9.4 million.
Looking closer at Missouri’s data in the report, tech workers represent 5.1% of the state workforce. The estimated median wage of $78,245 for a tech worker in Missouri is double the median wage for all occupations in the state.
In the report’s diversity index, which measures the depth and breadth of diversity in the tech workforce, Missouri falls in line with the national percentage of women – 26% – and Black or African American workers – 8%. Hispanic or Latino people make up 3% of the tech workforce in Missouri, while they represent 8% nationally.
Missouri’s tech industry delivers an economic impact of $22.5 billion, or 6.4% of the state economy, according to the report, which estimates 11,028 tech businesses in the state. Nationally, the tech business count reached 582,120, a 7.5% year-over-year jump.
While some might think barely making the top 20 nationally in net tech employment isn’t anything to brag about, comparing the Show-Me State’s data to most of its border neighbors (see map above) reveals Missouri sits regionally in a strong position.
The full report is available at CyberStates.org.
As I compile our publication’s Open for Business section, there are frequently some interesting tidbits that can’t fit due to space. Here are a couple recent examples:
The fourth location for a North Carolina-based fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise marked a first for the Queen City and Missouri when Go Burrito opened in March. Local franchise owner Lucas Forschler has an impressive professional background in the technology industry, having spent the past 13 years working for Apple Inc. His first job after graduating from Missouri University of Science and Technology with a bachelor’s degree in computer science was with Microsoft. It was with that company where he met and befriended Mikey Wetzel, who would go on to found Go Burrito in Salisbury, North Carolina. That friendship eventually led Forschler to visit Wetzel at one of his restaurants, and the seed was planted to bring the concept to Springfield.
The Social Studio
Owner Becky DeMaria, who calls her business a family-friendly selfie studio, said she didn’t have a photography background when she opened her venture at the start of the year. Then again, she doesn’t need to as it’s her customers who are primarily the photographers, with most using their smartphones. It’s a concept like Selfie Vibes, which relocated last year to Battlefield Mall from Branson. DeMaria said customers are welcome to bring professional photographers to her shop, but each entrant needs to buy their own ticket. As a former teacher, CrossFit trainer and stay-at-home mom, DeMaria said she wants to provide an inexpensive and accessible way for people to capture special moments, such as family portraits, birthdays and bachelorette parties.
Contact Mike Cullinan
Springfield Business Journal’s 2023 Trusted Advisers event honors 20 businesspeople.