What’s New This Quarter
Quarter 4 of 2013 was a vibrant one in Austin, beginning as Dell finally completed its $24.9 billion shareholder buyout. The newly private company is now setting out to cut costs, first offering buyouts to an unknown number of employees through a “voluntary separation program,” and then possibly following it up with layoffs affecting as many as 9,000 workers. That’s a change from February, when the company said, “We do not anticipate job eliminations as a result of the proposed transaction.” Dell currently employs 14,000 workers in Central Texas.
Despite Dell’s many ups and downs, Austin has had the fastest growth in technology employment of any city over the past 12 years, according to a Forbes magazine survey. Austin’s tech industry employment growth from 2001 to 2013 was 41.4 percent, while its STEM occupation growth was 17.1 percent. The keys to Austin’s success lie largely in its affordability and high quality of life, both in its small urban core and rapidly expanding suburbs, said Forbes.
There has been plenty of hiring news in Austin recently:
- Flextronics America is hiring people to work on its “next generation desktop computer” at the company’s facilities in Austin. While Flextronics doesn’t say it publicly, the computer in question is Apple’s radically redesigned Mac Pro, announced in October. Apple began taking orders for the new system on December 19.
- Meanwhile, Apple’s local campus is undergoing a $300 million expansion to add at least 3,600 new employees over the next ten years.
- Oracle Corp. plans to create 200 jobs in Austin and invest $5.4 million to establish an additional local office. The Texas Enterprise Fund — which state officials use to further entice big companies to expand there — is providing $1 million to close the deal. The company employs an undisclosed number of workers in Texas, including Austin workers specializing in sales, marketing, management, data center operations and software development, officials said.
- IBM has opened a design studio in Austin and plans to add hundreds of jobs over the next five years. About 100 people already work at the site, with skills such as visual design, graphic arts, user experience and industrial design. IBM expects that number to grow to 1,000 by 2018.
- Software maker Telogis Inc. plans to hire an additional 60 to70 workers for its Austin office after completing $93 million in financing. Officials at the California-based company said it’s received the funding to put Telogis in a position for an initial public offering. As a result, more workers will be needed to staff its offices. Telogis plans to hire for sales, marketing, customer support and technical support.
“Austin had a strong year for IT hiring in 2013 and we do not see any type of slowdown in 2014. With more and more companies moving to Austin, the demand for technology talent will stay strong,” says Josh Olson, Austin sales director for recruiting firm Randstad.
There’s action in the startup arena as well. Silverton Partners announced the formation of a new $75 million fund that will invest in early-stage startups in Austin. The fund received backing from prominent local entrepreneurs, several university endowments and its general partners.
At the same time, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and South by Southwest Interactive named 12 companies to their 2013 Fall Austin A-List. The list includes companies categorized by their investment stage that span a wide range of industries, including Big Data, social, health and entertainment. So far, 19 companies from the 2013 Summer Austin A-List have received a total of $10.3 million in investment and 28 members of the 2012 A-List have received a total of $164.5 million in investments.
Skills in Demand
“The vast amount of data consumed by the average company is exploding,” says Randstad’s Olson. “This is forcing companies to consider alternate ways to store, manage, and analyze that data. Additionally, the smartphone and tablet industry has forced companies to compete in an ever increasing mobile world. We are watching a trend towards SaaS, cloud, and mobility solutions. More and more companies are requesting “cloud /SaaS” experience as a core requirement.”
According to TechAmerica’s Cyberstates 2013 report, Texas’s tech workers earned an annual average wage of $92,200 (ranked 12 among all states), 85 percent more than the state’s average private sector wage.
- Technology Manufacturing
- Financial Services
- Software Development