Cary tech surge rolls on

akenney@newsobserver.comJune 24, 2013 

— Weston Parkway’s going to see a lot of new traffic soon. A Deutsche Bank subsidiary will add some 431 local jobs to its north Cary software-development center, directly across the street from the future home of about 1,300 MetLife employees.

The announcement of DB Global Technology Inc.’s expansion, which will more than double the size of the bank’s local presence, continued a tech hiring streak for Cary and the Triangle. Both Deutsche Bank’s subsidiary and MetLife likely will join the town’s 10 largest employers with the plans announced this year, while SAS Institute continues to build on its local workforce of 5,000.

The result? An improving job market for some, and a growing tech culture around Wake County, from Citrix’s sleek downtown Raleigh offices to the office parks of Cary.

It’s not uncommon now to overhear six lunchtime conversations about programming at some Cary restaurants, according to Jeff Smith, a Cary-based product manager for a large local software company. And the growing cluster of software campuses only seems to draw more interest from large companies.

In particular, Cary lately has attracted the software arms of large companies that aren’t pure tech. MetLife sells insurance, while Deutsche Bank is a financial giant. That kind of growth may reflect confidence that the Triangle has the right ingredients to support large tech-related workforces.

“When Deutsche Bank says, ‘Yeah, we’re going to bring down 500 people,’ that’s a big stamp of approval. Other businesses notice that,” said Smith, who keeps a popular blog and social media presence as “That Jeff Smith.”

Interest in the area is fueled by relatively low living costs, plus a proliferation of higher education campuses and existing IT business, he said. It’s something of a snowball effect, with SAS Institute’s huge Cary campus near the middle.

“That’s how Silicon Valley grew. They’re obviously competitive for some labor, but there’s also a desire to be around other companies of your type,” said Sandy Jordan, vice president of economic development for the Cary Chamber of Commerce.

Bank staffs up

The announcement of Deutsche Bank’s new investment came last Thursday from state officials. The company will bring those 400-plus jobs by the end of 2016, investing $13.5 million and receiving state entitlements worth up to $5.6 million.

Deutsche Bank decided in 2009 to locate its global technology center in Cary. Today the center has 250 workers who develop and test software that the company can use at its sites around the world for functions such as trading, managing orders and processing transactions.

John Eagleson, chief operating officer of the center in Cary, praised the region’s “very broad and deep, experienced pool of technical labor.” A further plus, he added, is that Deutsche Bank has found that the region “is very attractive to out-of-area candidates.”

Eagleson said that Cary’s prime competition for the expansion was Jacksonville, Fla., where Deutsche Bank also has operations.

The key driver for the expansion, he said, “is that our business is becoming increasingly dependent on technology. So we are increasing our focus on the skills we have and the capabilities we have to deliver that.”

The average annual salary of the new hires is expected to be $89,227, said Joshua Ellis, a spokesman for the state Department of Commerce. That’s nearly double the average Wake County wage of $48,024.

Ken Atkins, executive director of Wake County Economic Development, said that workers making those salaries have significant disposable income that can ripple throughout the local economy.

“You’re going to see it in the housing market,” he said. “You’re going to see it in the automobile market.”

Deutsche Bank received a state incentives grant worth up to $9.4 million when it chose to establish its then-new subsidiary in Cary.

Thus far the company has received $569,678 from that grant, according to the Commerce Department. Its second round of incentives won’t kick in until the company has exhausted the funds it is entitled to under the first round.

Deutsche Bank hasn’t yet met its first-round target of 319 jobs but expects to hit that level by adding at least 69 employees by the end of the year, Eagleson said.

“We are actively hiring today, quite actively,” he said.

Positions the company seeks to fill include software developers, software architects, business analysts and quality assurance analysts.

The tech services boom isn’t limited to Cary, either. In the past decade, a number of financial services companies and related businesses have established major presences in the Triangle, with an emphasis on technology operations. Credit Suisse started the ball rolling in 2004 by relocating a substantial portion of its operations to the region, followed by Fidelity Investments and Deutsche Bank, among others.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or twitter.com/KenneyOnCary

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