Update: Skype and Amazon Hire While Others Can’t Find People TO Hire

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2c385szaKo&w=560&h=349]

Skype and Amazon are hiring in Silicon Valley… Other companies WANT to hire … and Microsoft wants to hurt Sony just a little bit more. All on this week’s Update.

Microsoft’s latest acquisition, Skype, is going to stick to its plans to hire hundreds of people in Palo Alto. The company’s going to maintain its own offices rather than move into Microsoft’s campus in Mountain View. Also, Skype says it will continue to invest in Silicon Valley.

Amazon’s also looks to be hiring in California. Lab126, the subsidiary that works on Kindle and other tablets, is supposedly renting “lots” more office space in Cupertino. The company’s reportedly working on a full-blown tablet and maybe a smartphone.

A new kind of brute-force recruiting is emerging. Engineering talent is so in demand that large companies are acquiring small companies not for their products or ideas but for the warm bodies they employ. The buzzword is acqhiring. So says The New York Times. Big companies and small ones just keep saying they can’t find enough good tech people. So, they’ll give them everything from free iPads to entrepreneurship lessons to attract them. Start-ups in particular are looking for people. Total job openings at venture-backed startups in Silicon Valley have risen to 3,609 from 1,739 in April 2008. Elsewhere in the U.S., they rose 69 percent in the same period.

And, finally, in case you haven’t heard: Microsoft’s trying to put a little bit more of Sony’s blood on the floor. If you’re a student and spend $799 or more on a Windows 7 PC, get an Xbox. Free. Interesting timing. Not only because most colleges are into summer slow-down mode right now, but also because Sony’s PSN is still having problems. Amazon just cut the price on one of its Xbox bundles, and, Best Buy pushed Xbox in its last week’s Sunday newspaper flyer. Striking someone when they’re down. Not sportsmanlike, as Roy Batty once said. But it sure is effective.

Roy  Batty Photo: Villians Wikia

No Responses to “Update: Skype and Amazon Hire While Others Can’t Find People TO Hire”

  1. I wish the same companies that you mention would bite the bullet and decide they need to train more individuals to do their engineering work. I am currently a technical writer in software, have taken some programming classes, have a degree in mechanical engineering, an MBA, and a certification in project management, not to mention over 10 years of experience.

    Do you think I might be trainable?

    These companies can afford it, yet they just keep crying they don’t have enough as an excuse to hire people for lower wages with H1 visas and by emailing their code to offshore groups who work for pennies. I wish someone would expose this for what it is.

    • Celeste

      A problem might be is that some of those not-so together, incompetent project managers are afraid you might be smart enough to take their job. The truth is that the company might be better off if you did. In my view those with a technical background make the best hiring managers because they can easily see what is need to make multiple projects run successfully and the time frames it generally takes from concept to completion. There is a direct correlation from specialized quality labor to production and profit. It seems that a lot of time and money is actually lost in porting work to india and china which all too often results in an inferior product.

      As a massive hurricane was about to hit, I went to a local drug store to buy two flashlights. They were exactly the same, but felt I needed two. They were both made in China. The store manager thought I was off my rocker when I asked him to test both of them in front of me. So he did. One worked and the other didn’t. He looked at me in utter shock and said, “I guess you were right.” I bought the one that worked and left the other on the counter.

  2. I agree with Jim. I just graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Math & Computer Science from a legitimate university (NOT ITT Tech, Phoenix or a “career school”). I am 40 years old, with plenty of professional work experience (though not in IT). I cannot even find a job paying minimum wage. Employers feel I’m not “qualified” because I’m not fluent in 15 different programming languages.

    I’m not buying it. I am fully trainable; employers simply have no desire to train.

    Getting this degree was the biggest mistake of my life. I wish I had never done this. I have grown to hate the IT field.

  3. I have education in usability and networking, information seeking, computer training, and support and have applied for hundreds of entry level and junior level positions and have not been given any chances because of being a recent graduate and not having corporate experience.

  4. What TR said is exactly true: “Employers feel I’m not “qualified” because I’m not fluent in 15 different programming languages”

    but I’ll submit that it’s a step beyond that; be fluent in 15 programming languages/methodologies, Have advanced sysadmin skills on every platform since 1995, 15 years experience, be a seasoned Oracle DBA, have a PMP, all Cisco Certs. and a security clearance.

    seriously. I know there has to be meaningful content on DICE but this article seems a bit scripted. Someone give me the direct names and contact info for all the recruiters at the MANY startups mentioned in the article who are hiring please? I can’t seem to locate them in the sea of illegitimate recruiter postings on the site.

    • Celeste

      Employers are expecting too much in my opinion and they are paying far too little in relation to the demand. Its like expecting someone to be fluent in Creole, French, German, Dutch, English, Farsi, Afrikanns, Hindi, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian, Latin, Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Tagolic, Italian and expect them to take peanuts in return for the honorable charity. Fortunately we are smart enough to know when its time to boycott their services and products and how to compete with them by offering cheaper services. The time is now. Its a free market right?

  5. I have to say I agree with many of the comments posted here. I have a lot of experience in Network Engineering, and have worked on some major projects for big companies. However, I got laid off at the end of the year, and since then I still haven’t been able to get a job. I’ve done the interviews (which I have to say the interview process needs to be seriously updated… they way they do it now is just intimidating) and have gone several rounds, and then in the end, they pass on me saying I don’t fit in with the background they’re looking for. So they’ve wasted four-five hours of my time, gas, and everything else when they knew what they were getting from the phone calls, resumes, phone screens, and even over the phone “tests”. It’s just pathetic.

    So, I agree. These companies need to man up and hire people. If someone doesn’t know something, train them, then they will know it, and both the company and the person become better.

  6. Hum, the article’s title does makes me feel a bit excited about the career I chose. However, the data that article presented seems a bit less convincing— “Total job openings….have risen to 3,609 from 1,739 in April 2008. Elsewhere in the U.S., they rose 69 percent in the same period.” Just in case anyone did not know that, we are in 2011. The data is three years ago, I bet these positions will not left open for that long don’t they? Dear author, I think it will be more helpful and convincing if you could put the date of the info you collected so that people have a bit, just a bit more sense about when do all these happened and provide more exact data.

    Thank you

  7. Jayson

    I agree too that outsourcing to offshore shops is lucrative for companies, but I am curious where you guys live? I live in the Milwaukee Wisconsin area and hiring in IT seems to be keeping up pretty well with the pre-recession hiring. There is a lot of strength in the IT field and there are many companies that are less vulnerable to hiring freezes and layoffs (insurance companies, banks, wall street, Kohls, IT seems to go hand and hand with strong marketing — watch commercials). I know it is depressing when you feel undervalued, but keep working on your resume, emphasize more of your strengths if you don’t have experience yet. You guys all sound pretty accomplished from the short responses you made. Have any of you considered relocating to a place where the fish are biting? Best of luck to you guys!

    • I am in the Philadelphia area.

      I can’t “just move.” While I could sell my current house and make a small profit, I would not qualify for another mortgage. I cannot “just rent”; I’ve got four pets who I REFUSE to KILL to satisfy some [expletive] landlord. Even if I could get another mortgage or find a rental that would not require me to KILL my pets, I don’t have any $$$ to fly around the country on job interviews or to move.

      Finally, even if I had the $$$ and everything else, companies aren’t interested in interviewing candidates who do not already live in the area. They ignore resumes from far-flung candidates. Meanwhile, just TRY to get a mortgage or even a lease in a city where you DO NOT have a VERIFIABLE job already lined up. Not “I’m sure I can get a job,” but a company the bank/landlord can call and verify that you have been hired and are starting on x date.

      I don’t have any strengths, at least not any that are worth $$$. All I have is a worthless STEM degree that is going to end up ruining my life once the loans that I will never be able to pay back hit later this year. I would be willing to work for minimum wage if I could get it. I can’t even get that.

  8. Reader12

    I just talked to a friend who has tons of experience and certifications, is applying for a 7 month State contractual computer job. He’s had to go through five (5) technical interview screenings and now fly across the country for two face-to-face interviews, across town from each other even! Apparently they have so many people to choose from its like the Special Olympics. All fighting for a 7 month temp job and the pay isn’t even all that great……….the bar is ridiculous………

  9. It is exposed, but the big companies (MS…) have enough influence that they can continue to abuse the H1 program without concern. You would think that a convicted monopolist with a ton of lobbyists would attract the attention of the government authorities concerned with the H1 program, but they are asleep at the wheel.

    When I decided to evolve from being a systems programmer to a software engineer, I became interested and skilled in more than writing code. I became knowledgable about the software life-cycle, maintainability, documentation, the whole enchilada.

    If a company hired me, they might have to train me about some contemporary skill regarding a new piece of hardware or software, but beyond the programming skill, they would also get all the rest. Is that not a valuable deal for them? I think it is, but they don seem to see it.

  10. Jim Lola

    Interesting video. Do the HR people at these companies know about this? Seems like I’ve been dealing with a whole lot of flakes.

    Do I have the tech and management background for these companies? Absolutely and more with over 25 years and having worked at companies like DEC’s AltaVista, LLNL, Genentech (when tech was actually strong there), LM, and others. For the last six years I’ve been developing the business strategy and technical strategy around distributed computing, cloud computing, and delivery of content to mobile applications for a large Company on the East Coast. Their biggest issue is that if some other Company isn’t already doing this tech, management does not pay attention. If it turns out you’ve been developing the tech for a couple of years and then it becomes popular, then they get all excited.

    Anyway, my biggest frustration has been dealing with HR people who do not understand what they are looking for (from a tech standpoint) and seem to “flake out”. These HR people have no idea what innovation and new IP are. I really doubt that if Larry Page or Sergei Brin were to apply for positions at Google (guys if you try this, change your names), they would get past the HR folks. The same would be true if Mark Zuckerberg were to apply at Facebook – the HR folks would just pass them by.

  11. jeffpas

    The word is that some Indian H1-B companies are using professional interviewers now, all they do is interview for the U.S. contract computer jobs.
    Then when the American company hires them, the Indian company swaps and sends a ‘dumb guy’ aka not having all 12 languages willing to work for the cheaper wage. So the screwers are getting screwed, as it were.

  12. steve

    I am not convinced that we are seeing any hiring occurring outside of Silicon Valley, and I suspect most of that involves foreign nationals. In fact, I see the looming specter of layoffs, offshoring, and continued hiring of H-1B visa holders as a fact of life in the US. As example, there is an article in the Portland, OR paper (http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/05/xerox_contemplates_outsourcing.html) regarding Xerox partnering with the Indian Company, HCL Technologies. It states, “Employees in selected product groups could become HCL employees… It could affect hundreds of employees across the five sites”. In the article, David Raffo, a Computer Science professor at Portland State/Carnegie Mellon, says that regarding HCL Technologies; “other companies have transferred employees as a steppingstone to offshoring engineering work entirely. Key people will be retained by the Indian firm until their knowledge is transferred, and then they will be let go.”

    When will Americans wake up to the truth and call it what it is, a tsunami of foreign nationals taking US jobs. And, the fact that companies like Microsoft continue to lobby for greater numbers of H-1B visa holders makes me sick to my stomach. I have been a software engineer for 25 years and I actually have many friends that are H-1B visa holders, all are either Indian or Chinese. They are good and talented people, but facts are facts; every one of them is holding a position that should be held by an American. It happens one of three ways: 1)recruiting firms bringing in foreign nationals, 2) offshoring jobs, or 3)foreign students flooding engineering schools (paid for by their government) as the gateway to employment here. When will we as a nation seek to promote American students and American employees. Pundits will be scoffing at this. You will hear the terms globalization and diversity spilling from their mouths between swallows of Kool-Aid, while jobs and a future for our children become quaint notions of the past.

  13. Fred Bosick

    It looks like many already have written what I was thinking when reading this article. Mr. Senior Editor, how much did MS, Oracle, TI, HP, IBM, et al, offer you to serve us this Koolaid? “Unable to find enough tech people” makes sense only when planning to offer subsistence wages and or exploit the H-1B program. There are 300 million people in the US. Pay enough and you can get anyone you need, unless you require competence in 15 different computer languages or demand some other pie-in-the-sky qualifications. Get out of the office and *ask* people on the street, or talk to college students who aren’t taking IT related majors.

  14. Jozsef Nagy

    The think is that WE are very expensive worker, they need cheap labor. Last week I read an article about the need of workers. I have been looking for job for long time, but they don’t want to train, because it is money waste. What they want?. They perfect match for a job is not there, but with a little adjustment and training companies can make the perfect match.

    Everything is about money. Companies don’t case about the workers they just want make money. We are the workers that used to buy cars, travel but houses and push the economy in that direction. We used to support Social Security, but instead we get unemployment. We used to buy a dreams houses, but instead we are in foreclosure.

    We are sending all the work to China, of course, it is not such a EVIL that used to be. They just change their name.

    What is going to happen with all that people that went to college and own student loan?

  15. Celeste

    Other companies can’t find people to hire? That is the most insane, illogical comment I’ve ever heard. There is an enormous pool of talented people out of work, most college educated and highly skilled. 85% of American college graduates are unemployed – that’s an awfully high number. The companies that ‘can’t’ find or don’t have a need to hire Americans obviously don’t need Americans to buy their products and very shortly they wont be.

  16. I sure hope the article is wrong. We are looking to hire someone immediately in the NYC area for contract work for 3+ REAL projects right now. So far, it’s been tough finding anyone w Windows OS/app and C++ (not web) development experience that’s any good and willing to start work for good pay.

      • Celeste

        Who can afford it, are you willing to actually pay an American for needed training? If so hat’s off to you. Out of work people don’t really have the means to retrain as they are trying to put food on the table. I’ve learned a number of skills on the job that I didn’t have before and been rewarded for it. How can you expect some to get experience if you won’t give them the chance to do so? Most of the out of work people I know have the experience you speak of. Who doesn’t have Windows OS/app?? I find this hard to believe. Maybe your first line of business should be to find a competent project manager who knows how to recruit qualified personnel.

  17. daddy

    this is bs,.. the truth of what I’ve seen in the job tech market are posted in these comments. The vid lies to attract more users to their website?? thats f’ed up

  18. Jim Poltrone

    I really find it hard to believe that companies want to hire but can’t find the talent. I’ve been looking for permanent work for almost 3 years now, and the only jobs I’ve been able to land are short-term gigs. There’s a demand for Java programmers in my part of the country (southwest Ohio), but as soon as I tell them how many years of Java I have (1 year), I get dropped like a hot potato. Hardly anyone uses Perl these days, and I’ve worked in that language for over 10 years now. And none of that experience appears to transfer over. Something’s really wrong with the hiring system.

  19. Well, let me jump in, if only to try to convince you that no one’s fed me Kool Aid to say what I said.

    First, the item about rising IT employment wasn’t about rising numbers in 2008 — that was one of the baselines. The report used February 2011 numbers, which just became available. (Remember, this is a video script you’re reading, so I have to keep it short but, yes, I should have been clearer. ) Also, on number of startup jobs: To go from 1,700 in April 2008 to 3,600 in April 2011 — in Silicon Valley alone — is a pretty good increase, especially with the economy as it’s been in the last few years.

    BTW, a good summary of the report is here: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9216800/IT_employment_passes_4_million_again_regains_recession_losses

    (For the record, it’s not that 85 percent of American college grads are unemployed. It’s 85 percent of 2011’s college grads have to, for one reason or another, live at home with their parents. Yes, often one of those reasons is they can’t find work. Here’s a link: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/05/10/survey-85-of-new-college-grads-moving-back-in-with-mom-and-dad/)

    But, you’re right, none of this is pretty. One of the issues we’re facing is that the companies that have jobs are being incredibly selective in who they interview, and who they hire. The reason is really simple: They CAN be. They know a lot of people lost their jobs in the last few years, and that means they can pick and choose who they want to talk to. IT employment may be going up, but it hasn’t gone up enough to make a big dent in that, and we’re a long way from the time when there just weren’t enough tech professionals out there to get all the work done.

    Anyway, there’s an old saying that it’s a “recession” when you have a job and a “depression” when you don’t. I think that’s close to the situation we’ve got going on now. There’s no question hiring in tech’s improving, but it’s not improving fast enough, and if you’re one of the people out there who’s been looking and looking, even though you’ve got good skills, good certifications and a real track record, well — it just doesn’t get much worse than that.

  20. Celeste

    Oh and by the way, with the destructive monopolization of the free market by Microsoft (among the worst offenders of offshore hiring) I am getting pretty tired of their products and general lack of ingenuity. I am also not alone in this line of thinking.

    • I agree, and I have been doing my part by affirming I will never pay another cent to Microsoft. But as far as I can tell, my buying habits are not changing anything at Microsoft in a visible way. They still continue to put out broken products which never get fixed, but merely replaced by more broken products. I continue to be astounded that the performance of their products running on contemporary equipment seems as sluggish as it was on 8MHz 286’s.

    • Celeste

      That is a relevant scenariou. Not every one can afford to move to Silicon Valley. I have a family member in that area who says things are getting worse, not better and he’s in the tech field.

    • Even though I could sell my house, there is no way I could afford to move to Silicon Valley. The jobs just don’t pay enough to eke out even a meager living in that area.

      • Celeste

        Regarding your wife, I am so sorry. This may be of not much consolation but I had heard of a similar scenario of a man in the IT field who also couldn’t find work. The same thing happened to him. It was out west, but I am not sure that it was Silicon Valley.

  21. Arlene

    I agree with this. I have about 14+ years experience in the IT and engineering fields, I’m 36 years old(so I’m not a new college grad-I graduated back in 1996) and I’ve gotten 4 job offers in the last 2 months. All 4 of the offers have been higher pay compared to what I was making currently. But I always have kept up to date with the new technologies(even in my current jobs) so I wouldn’t be obsolete. I always try to be part of a hot project at work, and I always read up on new technologies on my spare time.
    It’s not just me, 4 people I know also found jobs in the technical world within a month of their layoffs. The salaries that they were offered were between $80,000-$90,000/year, so that’s hardly minimum wage. One on them has worked with the same company for 20 years. Although she had gotten laid off, she got an offer with Edison a few months later.
    And we all live in the Southern California area.
    Companies want to hire the ‘right’ people. And that also means ‘experienced’ people not just newly college grads. YOU SHOULD train with the new technologies. Stop whining and do what you need to do to train to get a job. No one is going to hire Cobol programmers anymore. Mobile is very hot, so if you can get that experience and training, it would be the most beneficial for you!

    • Celeste

      I am happy that you found a job and had some good offers. Kudos. I do the very same things that you have and am not in the same boat as is the case with many of my colleagues. However not everyone lives where you do or has the resources to train, especially when they are out of work. No offense, but I hardly think you can build a logical case based upon yourself alone and a few other local people you happen to know. 🙂

      Not everyone does the same thing and I don’t happen to recall anyone responding to the article being a COBOL programmer, that seemed to be some unrelated interjection into the issue at hand. Though I actually know someone who was laid off because he refused to learn COBOL. But that’s Florida, not California. I’m sure things are great in your world, but obviously there is a big world outside of your reality of six people. Oh and by the way, I am retraining but not in the IT field, and not in something that can be easily outsourced. Nor am I investing in those areas. I do understand though – 4 years ago as an employed IT worker I was just as egocentric, if not moreso.

    • There are people who win the lottery, too. That doesn’t mean I’m going to blow every cent I have on the Powerball.

      I would have been happy to train on the “new technologies” if the UNIVERSITY I attended had trained me on them. Instead of being taught what I needed to know to get a job, I was taught a bunch of worthless theory that has absolutely NO value in the job market.

  22. Celeste

    I know of a very intelligent fellow, an old friend of mine in the IT business here in Florida. He was a member of Mensa, had three degrees, one in statistics, one in Liberal Arts and another in Computer Science. He mentioned that the computer science degree was the worst idea he ever had. At one of the companies he worked for the would bring in people from Russia, India, Germany and other places and pay them not more than $12 an hour. They would all compete for the same projects and who ever was the fastest got the job and the rest were let go. It is considered ‘at-will’ employment in Florida where workers can be hired and fired at will without reason. Finally he got smart and started his own company in an area where competition was more minimal and set his own rate. After that he paid off (and got rid of) all his credit cards, his student loans and had money to burn.

  23. I agree with all of you!! I have been in the IT field for 18yrs…Cert MCSE and Cisco CCNP..Not to mention the Hardwear Certs I got..I live in a Sub of Chicago and have been laid off for the last 2yrs Scratching and clawing! I was employed by the Fed Gov Dep of Energy and was let go because I made more than the manager!! It’s hard out there for ANY IT pro because every employer wants Top Notch work but pay you at entry level salary!! I am really considering moving because of the lack work in this area!! I was condering Sylicone Vally but after reading all of your remarks I may have to rethink here for a little bit