November 1, 2004

Knowledge Pays

Grapevine  /  Post and Courier

The New Economy is still the place to be, according to an annual wage survey released by the Charleston Digital Corridor.

The average income at the technology and "knowledge-based" companies that make up the corridor jumped almost 10 percent this year to $78,000. That's more than double the average South Carolina wage.

Paychecks have been pushed up by the advent of some new and successful companies, according to Ernest Andrade, the city economic development official who quarterbacks the corridor initiative. Andrade also said the higher wages mean incumbent companies, on a whole, are doing better and rewarding their workers in turn.

Kirk King, CEO of the software company Carolina Systems Solutions Inc. and chairman of the corridor's foundation, said the wage survey is evidence that the corridor initiative is succeeding in terms of economic development.

"We are now starting to reverse the trend of stagnant rates in the region," King said. Technology workers in Charleston are still relatively rare, though. Corridor companies have just 2,340 people on their payrolls, about 1,900 of which work here.