Op-Ed: Puerto Rico’s IT sector ranks #1 in value in U.S.

Written by  //  February 11, 2015  //  Biz Views  //  1 Comment

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Author Víctor López, is president of the Puerto Rico Information Technology Cluster.

Author Víctor López, is president of the Puerto Rico Information Technology Cluster.

Yesterday we learned that, according to the Cyberstates 2015 report, published by the Technology Councils of America, Information Technology (IT) salaries in Puerto Rico rank lowest in the United States.

At first glance, the position appears disadvantageous, but to the professionals that make up the Puerto Rico IT Cluster, an organization dedicated to making IT a pillar of economic development for our island, this ranking means the services provided by Puerto Rico’s IT professionals offer the best value in the nation and this is a competitive advantage we fully intend to leverage to the benefit of our local economy.

Being at the bottom of the wage scale reflects many different factors; chiefly that our local economy has been stagnant for the better part of the last decade and that average private sector wages in Puerto Rico have historically lagged behind those in the mainland United States.

What is notable and encouraging about the report is that, even in this contracting economy, the IT sector in Puerto Rico managed to create 300 new jobs between 2012 and 2013. This figure is likely understated, as the report authors indicate that it does not take into account startups and independent contractors when calculating job growth. Further, as reported by News is my Business, Puerto Rico’s tech workers earned an average $44,016, nearly twice as much as other private-sector professionals on the island, who saw an average annual income of $25,700.

On a larger scale, the study proves that the IT sector has enormous potential as an engine of economic growth, as evidenced by the experience of such states as California, Texas and Massachusetts, where well paid technology jobs account for considerable percentages of total private industry employment.

We propose flipping the Cyberstates 2015 ranking upside down and visualizing Puerto Rico’s technology sector as being number one in value among all of the United States. Additionally, countless mainland-based companies could take advantage of this value proposition make Puerto Rico their near shore IT destination of choice.

Imagine what could happen if we harnessed our collective power as an industry and made it our priority to market Puerto Rico in those terms. The future appears bright for IT in Puerto Rico. Join us on March 20th for the second CIO & IT Leadership Conference and be a part of this conversation. For more information, visit www.pritcluster.com.

One Comment on "Op-Ed: Puerto Rico’s IT sector ranks #1 in value in U.S."

  1. Puerto Rico City March 22, 2015 at 5:53 PM · Reply

    Respectfully, I question the premise that lower compensation for IT professionals in PR is a competitive advantage. Higher compensation in other jurisdictions will only add these professionals to the growing exodus looking for better opportunities off the Island. For the same reason, lower compensation will divert IT talent from other parts of the world.

    We must face the fact that Puerto Rico is simply not competitive in the IT sector. No amount of wanting-to-be will change this. And while PR should strive to use state-of the-art technology to grow its economy, it’s unrealistic to believe that PR will lead in the creation of this technology.

    Our strengths and comparative advantages lie elsewhere, primarily as a destination for mass scale leisure and entertainment.

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