San Diego’s IT job market is having its share of good and bad news. In September the area took a hit when Science Applications International Corp (SAIC), a sprawling defense and government contractor that has resided in San Diego for the last 40 years, said it will likely move its corporate headquarters to the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
That means the number of San Diego’s Fortune 500 firms will go down to two: wireless giant Qualcomm and Sempra Energy, the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric. Thus far, it’s unclear how many of the 4,500 jobs at San Diego’s SAIC headquarters will be relocated, but the news has hurt the city’s morale. "People are gnashing their teeth over this," says one IT worker, who asked to remain anonymous.
On the bright side, a recent Clean Edge report ranked San Diego number 11 on the list of geographies with the most clean-tech job activity. Plus, the region has a good chance of receiving $260 million worth of federal stimulus funding for photovoltaic solar power production to various municipalities, according to Lisa Bicker, president and chief executive of CleanTech, which works to foster local development of clean technology.
More encouraging news came in early October, when an area technology trade group found San Diego County accounts for 14 percent of the technology businesses started in California during the second quarter of 2009, according to the San Diego Business Journal. The group, Connect, issued its findings in its Innovation Report. Co-author Camille Sobrian noted that 102 technology companies were created in San Diego during the three months ending June 30, a 53 percent increase over the 66 launched during the first three months of 2009.
On Dice, job postings in San Diego decreased by 47 percent year-over-year: There were 742 job postings for San Diego in September 2009, compared to 1,406 in September 2008.
However, recruiters are experiencing a pick up in job orders. Tim Thompson, managing director of staffing firm Technisource’s San Diego office, has seen an increase in demand for a variety of skill sets including tier-one help desk, high-end tech architects, project managers, business analysts and application developers for Microsoft and SAP.
"We are definitely up," says Thompson, whose firm deals primarily with contract jobs. "It had steadily decreased from last January to late May, but it started to pick up in early June. Jobs also started to increase in August and slightly increase more in September and October."
Thompson says his clients anticipate increases in hiring in the coming quarters. "There were a lot of layoffs, but now they have to get the work done. If they want to grow, they need to rebuild," he says.
Robert Childers, senior account executive at Robert Half Technology’s San Diego office, also sees an uptick in both contract and full-time job orders for positions in Windows tech support and business analysis. "It’s welcome to see those pop up," he says. Childers also notes companies are looking for IT pros who can handle desktop support as well as Blackberry PDA support and Blackberry Enterprise Server.
Mel Katz, executive officer at Manpower Professional’s San Diego office, had 94 open job orders when we wrote this – 31 for IT positions including data warehousing, architects, business analysts, business intelligence, CRM specialists, Oracle development, Unix and Linux experience and help desk support. Most were contractor jobs.