STEM / Workplace culture

Maryland’s in the top 5 most innovative states — but what spot depends on who you ask

Here's a quick look at three reports on how states stack up on tech jobs and development from Bloomberg, the Milken Institute and WalletHub.

The crowd at Baltimore's Super Meetup 2017. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)
State rankings released this year show Maryland is one of the top five states for innovation. In fact, three separate rankings do.

Where Maryland falls depends on who is doing the ranking, as each has slightly different criteria.

The latest report came this week from Bloomberg, which ranked the state in fifth position.

The results of this study were based on six equally weighted factors: research and development intensity, productivity, clusters of companies in technology, STEM jobs, populous with degrees in science and engineering disciplines, and patent activity.

The report shows Maryland is especially high ranking when it comes to the concentration of STEM professionals (where the state ranks first) and science and engineering degree holders, which squares with what we’ve heard before. The state also ranks third in tech company density and R&D.

A week ago, WalletHub released its own look at the most and least innovative states. Here, Maryland came in fifth when it comes to human capital — which is mostly related to education and jobs — and seventh when it comes to the “innovation environment.” The report noted that the state is projected to have the third-highest demand for tech jobs by 2020. The state also has the second-fastest internet speed.

The highest ranking of late comes from Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science Index, which put Maryland third. That report puts the Free State above California. This biennial study considered research and development (R&D) inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration and dynamism.

The report said Maryland ranks number one for technology and science workforce. Its authors did find one place for improvement, as the state dropped 38 places in a ranking that looks at the number of high-tech industries growing faster than the national average.

“However, given the high concentrations of computer science, engineering, and life science employment in the state, the decline is not overly concerning,” it states. It also points to 30 federal agencies providing “stability” when it comes to tech employment.

Overall, the report is designed to inform policymakers as they look to formulate strategies for improving STEM education, attracting businesses, and creating jobs in tech.

That’s just a few of the stats. Each report has plenty of data points, so dive in.

So what’s the takeaway? There’s one overall strength that keeps arising in each: a high concentration of tech employees.

That has us thinking back to February, when AllegisCyber founder and investor Bob Ackerman told us that the high concentration itself is an opportunity for even bigger growth of commercial cyber companies: It takes “building a capital ecosystem and an innovation ecosystem that knows how to transform and leverage that experience into market-leading companies,” he said.


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