What the DOJ Settlement Means for Tech Workers

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently settled with some big Silicon Valley companies regarding an alleged agreement to not poach skilled workers from one another. What does this mean for the tech professional in Silicon Valley and elsewhere? If you’re talented or specialized, you may be getting a call from some big name companies.  

Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel Corp., Intuit and Pixar had been accused by the DOJ of creating agreements amongst each other not to have their HR cold-call employees of each other to take away employees. This ultimately is an anticompetitive practice and potentially a violation of antitrust laws, the DOH said. It certainly prevented bidding wars between talented employees. 

In court documents, the DOJ cited an agreement among these companies from 2005 through 2007 not to make unsolicited job offers to computer scientists, engineers and other workers with specialized skills. The key word is "specialized", since Silicon Valley is currently facing a battle for specialized talent in the area.

One of the biggest draw for tech pros in San Jose is Facebook. As the company continues its meteoric rise and has a nearly certain IPO looming soon, it has been aggressively competing for Google employees. TechCrunch reported that about 118 former Googlers heading to Facebook. In one instance, the article continues, a Google employee interested in heading to Facebook was given a counteroffer from Google of a 15 percent raise on his $150,000 mid level developer salary, quadruple the stock benefits and a $500,000 cash bonus to stay for a year. He went with Facebook anyway, perhaps because stock options in Facebook are going to be worth quite a bit more when the company goes IPO.

Now, hiring practices are wide open in Silicon Valley and beyond, as the DOJ made a point to reveal. If you’re specialized and can work in mobile technologies (since most companies are going mobile), are a talented engineer, or specialize in any number of network administration jobs (especially security ), chances are you may get a call from Facebook’s HR department asking for your resume. There’s no surer bet to maintain job security than to make yourself irresistible by specializing.