New figures released by a global industry association suggest job totals in Indiana’s technology sector are growing at a slightly higher clip than the average state. CompTIA says tech jobs make up 5.5 percent of the state’s workforce, ranking Indiana 21st in the U.S., with over 181,000 workers. Tech job postings are on the rise in Indiana, the organization says, increasing 34 percent from 2016 to 2017, bumping the state to nearly 36,000.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Corporate Communications Director Steven Ostrowski said the figures illustrate the tech skills gap. Nationally, he said about 500,000 postings at the end of last year had gone unfilled.

Ostrowski says employers have to take steps to stock the pipeline. "They’re going to have to broaden their perspective and not use the same old formulas that they used in the past to try and find people," he said. "That may mean going to different places, expanding their geographic reach. They may have to evaluate what wages and benefits they’re offering. They may have to look to partner with other organizations, specifically, schools, community colleges, places like that where there might be young people interested in getting into this field." Companies Ostrowski adds, are no longer waiting for the perfect candidate, instead, they are hiring near-matches and spending time "skilling them up."

Other key findings from the CompTIA report:

Indiana’s tech industry contributed $14.1 billion to the economy

The average annual salary in Indiana’s tech industry is $76,860, which the organization says is nearly 70 percent higher than average in the Indiana private sector

Indiana’s Cyberstates Innovation Score — based on factors including new tech patents awarded, tech startups and tech business establishments — jumped from 39th in 2016 to 22nd last year.

View additional Indiana figures:

You can read more about CompTIA and its Cyberstates 2018 analysis by clicking here.