Can You Compete with Silicon Valley for Tech Talent?

SHRM 2012 Panel Discussion – “Tech Salaries: What’s Hot? What’s Hotter?” Get the latest trends in technology hiring in the video above.

If you’re in the market for tech talent, then you’re constantly fighting a battle to get the very best people. In a panel discussion entitled, “Tech Salaries: What’s Hot? What’s Hotter?” John Sumser (@johnsumser), Founder and Managing Editor of HR Examiner and Principal Consultant HRxAnalysts talked with Tom Silver, SVP, North America of Dice. Silver offered up some really interesting insight and statistics about the changing landscape of the tech market.

Here are some of the issues that came up in the discussion.

  • Technology unemployment is about half the national average.
  • There’s a shortage of tech workers. There are big shortages in Silicon Valley, Austin, and New York City – eBay and Google are opening up operations in NYC.
  • Everyone is fighting for the same defined group of talent.
  • One concern a lot of employers have is how can they compete in the tech market if they’re not in Silicon Valley. They don’t have the budget to handle $100K salaries. The goal is to show that your organization has something special and unique about it. How do you brand and present it? What do you want to say to the marketplace as to who you are? Money is surprisingly not a top motivating factor. Tech workers want to work on cool stuff. They also want training on the latest and greatest. Compensation is important, but there’s so much more you can give them that’s not salary.
  • Average salary for a tech worker in Silicon Valley is now over $100K. Portland and Austin, Texas have grown over 10 percent in the past year.
  • Tech salaries tend to go up on average 2% to 3% each year. In 2008 salaries didn’t go up, but they didn’t go down. Certain markets though got hit.
  • Tom Silver described Tech Talk, which is Dice’s community for tech professionals to interact with and learn from one another. Career searching is a lonely process, but if you can connect with others that are interested in career opportunities, it’s of value to the entire community. Seventy percent of the people who go to Dice are employed. They’re open to new possibilities and ways to advance their skills and career. It’s not just about finding the next job, but it’s also about interacting with the community to learn about tech challenges and companies.
  • Skills requirements keep changing for tech talent. A lot of tech workers have outdated skill sets and they need to update those skills to maintain marketability. A few years ago there wasn’t such a great demand for mobile developers or anyone with cloud expertise.
  • The ongoing notion of constantly updating skills is unique to the technology sector. Some people burn out. Some like the thrill. Some just like working on the latest and most interesting types of projects.
  • So much of tech work can be done remotely. So if you’re a tech worker you can define where you want to live and what kind of lifestyle you want to have.
  • Number one thing people hate is driving to work. Tech workers want to telecommute. Many live in highly concentrated areas. According to a study on Dice, over 1/3rd of workers would trade 10% of their salary to work out of their home.
  • Tech is taking an increasing share of the work in the economy. There’s a shortage of people in the tech game because education can’t keep up with the growth in the economy. When you’re competing for tech players it’s important to know who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • There are organizations that want tech talent that can do out of the box innovative thinking. They aren’t looking for shovels but they’re looking for new ways to dig a hole. Those are the companies that are getting the best talent. Do you want to make existing processes better or blow the whole thing up? You have to get the organization to think that way.
  • Stop thinking of tech geeks as technicians but rather as artists for which their palette is the computer. Look for the people with craftsmanship.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Comments

One Response to “Can You Compete with Silicon Valley for Tech Talent?”

July 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm, RealityCheckPlease said:

Oh, Puh-lease! I’ve been reading this kind of nonsensical commentary during every recession since 1982. During recessions, employers are so bombarded with resumes that they post every opening as a “Purple Squirrel” job. They certainly don’t have the recruiting staff to actually read all the resumes they get, so they toss in every unrealistic skill set they can think of.

Then, when the economy recovers, they become humble and start offering sign-on bonuses. The only difference this time is that the recession has been longer than any in history. And may in fact be the new status quo.

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