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SAN DIEGO-The county is facing a serious shortage of technology workers that could soon slow the area’s astounding economic growth and subsequently cool demand for office and R&D space, a report from a regional technology consortium says.

The inability to find workers could stunt the growth of technologycompanies in virtually every sector, from biotech to wirelesscommunications, according to the nonprofit San Diego Regional Technology Alliance.And that could chill the demand for new office, research and developmentand flex building space, the mainstays of San Diego’s thrivingcommercial real estate market.

The technology alliance and the San Diego Workforce Partnershipcollaborated to identify specific workforce needs for San Diego. The twoorganizations say the wirelesssector, in particular, has quadrupled since 1990 in the number of firmsand payroll. Digital and new media companies have alsoemerged as leaders of the county’s growing economy.

“For employees seeking to relocate, these reports confirm San Diego isthe place to be,” says Cliff Numark, chief executive officer of theregional technology alliance.

San Diego’s wireless firms continue to grow, concentrated in the MiraMesa/University City area, known locally as “Wireless Valley.” There growth is also spilling over into Carlsbad, Chula Vista andEscondido. The study says that while roughly 80% of the firms have fewer than 50 employees, thetotal number of employees in the San Diego wireless industry has grown from2,900 in 1990 to more than 15,000 today–a 500% increase.

“The findings confirm what regional employers are experiencing–that thecriticaldemand for skilled workers far outweighs San Diego’s supply,” saysLarry Fitch, president and CEO of the workforce partnership. Armed withthe data, “we can begin to build a regional system to ensure acompetitive workforce for the future,” he adds.

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