What’s New This Quarter
How do we know that things are going pretty well these days in Silicon Valley? Because 23 newly minted billionaires told us so: The most recent Forbes list of the richest of the rich found some of the moguls in Silicon Valley are among the world’s youngest, including the co-founders of both Uber and Snapchat.
The final numbers from 2014 showed that Silicon Valley’s tech economy continues to boom, with 58,000 new jobs and 42,000 new residents over the course of last year. The annual Silicon Valley Index, released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, suggested record venture capital investment; that means an ever-increasing need for tech pros.
Node.js, Angular.js, and Python remain among the hottest skills in the Valley, according to local recruiters. According to IT recruiting firm Mondo’s 2014-2015 Salary Guide, the top three skills currently in demand in the Bay Area are application and software development, e-commerce, and database administration.
Among those looking for talent is local behemoth Facebook, which plans to grow its headcount by 1,200 jobs (14 percent) in the near term, according to a review of job listings on the company’s website. Facebook’s new headquarters, designed by Frank Gehry, can accommodate up to 3,000 employees—so there’s clearly more growth to come.
A relatively new arrival is Ford, which has opened a new research center in Palo Alto to come up with ideas for the future of driving. “We want to be viewed as part of the ecosystem in Silicon Valley. The Research and Innovation Center is another proof point of what we’re doing and in a year, we will be one of the largest, dedicated automotive research teams here in the Valley,” CEO Mark Fields wrote in a statement. The staff will include 125 researchers, engineers, and scientists by the end of 2015.
American Express is also devoting funds to “innovation,” with a lab in Palo Alto that will eventually expand to 200 employees. Experience in the payments industry is apparently not a perquisite for developers and others who work there.
Not all companies in the Valley can enjoy explosive growth, of course. Auction giant eBay cut 2,400 jobs, or seven percent of its staff, in the first quarter to simplify its structure and boost profit ahead of a planned separation of its businesses, that will include spinning off PayPal. It may also spin off or sell its enterprise unit, which develops online shopping sites for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Networking leader Citrix Systems, meanwhile, plans to eliminate 700 full-time jobs and 200 contractor positions; the company has headquarters in both Santa Clara and Fort Lauderdale.
Diversity is also a focus among Valley firms. Intel, for example, recently told the Wall Street Journal that it could spend $300 million over the next five years to improve workplace diversity, with a goal of reaching “full representation” of women and minorities by 2020.
According to CompTIA’s 2015 “Cyberstates” report, California tech industry workers earned an average wage of $139,500 (ranked first in the nation), 147 percent more than California’s average private sector wage.
According to the 2015 Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a Silicon Valley-based IT professional is the nation’s highest at $112,610, up 3.7 percent from the previous year and 25 percent above the national average of $89,450.
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Local Employment and Research Resources
- Joint Venture Silicon Valley
- Silicon Valley Business Journal
- Silicon Valley Leadership Group
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- Finding Silicon Valley’s Heart of Entrepreneurship
- In Silicon Valley, Some Giants Are Hiring