- Associated Press - Friday, June 6, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Cisco Systems Inc. plans to expand its third-largest site by adding 550 jobs at its Research Triangle Park hub before 2018.

Cisco plans to hire finance, operations and advanced network services workers at an average salary of nearly $73,000 a year plus benefits. The average wage in Wake County is $49,410 a year.

The company is adding to the 4,500 employees now based in RTP, not moving jobs from elsewhere, Cisco spokeswoman Robyn Jenkins Blum said in an email. The RTP location is the company’s third-largest after its San Jose, California, headquarters and Bangalore, India, Jenkins Blum said. She declined to say whether the expansion was tied to plans Cisco announced in March to spend more than $1 billion over the next two years to build up its cloud computing services, which allow companies to rent computing space rather than build their own.

Cisco could get nearly $13 million from the state over 12 years if it reaches job-creation and other targets. The company also has been promised $860,000 for worker training, state Commerce Department spokeswoman Kim Genardo said. She did not provide an estimate of any additional local incentives offered to the maker of equipment that connects to the Internet.

“By expanding our presence and hiring the best talent, we will continue developing technology solutions that will enable the Internet of Everything and fuel innovation here in RTP.” Cisco president and chief operating officer Gary Moore said in a statement.

Cisco said last month its third-quarter profits declined 12 percent to $2.18 billion from the previous year, but the results topped Wall Street expectations. Cisco’s performance is widely regarded as a bellwether for the technology industry because its routers, switches, software and services indicates the level at which its corporate customers and government agencies are buying.

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