Across the U.S., the COVID-19 lockdown is impacting the way employers conduct business and plan for the future. While some employers have increased their tech hiring, others have halted immediate hiring of non-essential roles or rescinded initial offers.
To bring more transparency to COVID-19’s impact on tech, Dice created the Q1 Tech Job Report, using data from Burning Glass Technologies, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. Our study of that dataset found something interesting: Postings for technologist jobs increased in many up-and-coming tech hubs between February and March 2020, while some of the largest cities—such as New York and Houston—only experienced relatively minor declines.
In addition, these month-over-month increases topped some year-over-year trends, especially in prominent tech regions such as California and Texas. To provide greater context, we’ve also analyzed how the job-posting market has shifted in many cities between Q1 2019 and Q2 2020.
What does this all mean? It’s worth keeping in mind that, when it comes to COVID-19, it’s still early days; trends established during the first weeks of the crisis might not perpetuate over the next year, or even the next quarter. However, it seems that tech hiring remains relatively healthy despite the crisis.
And this certainly makes sense. Some of the country’s biggest tech firms, including Facebook and Amazon, are seeing unprecedented demand for their services. But even the smallest, non-tech companies still need technologists who can update their e-commerce portals, ensure their tech stacks are safe from a rising number of cyberattacks, and ensure that all employees can effectively work remotely.
Tech Hub Strength Persists
The nation’s major tech hubs seem to have weathered the outset of COVID-19 fairly well. For example, Boston’s weekly tech hiring volume suggests the city had a very strong February, jobs-wise, and its March average was slightly higher than in January, even if the month-over-month decline between February and March was –6%. And although New York City has become the nation’s COVID-19 epicenter, the decline has only been -1% between February and March.
In fact, multiple cities showed an increase in job-posting volume between February and March. Specifically, Arlington, San Diego and Raleigh all showed job-posting volumes increase by at least 20%. The causes for this growth differ; for example, Arlington hosts a high volume of federal government and defense contracting (which is typically resistant to downturns), as well as Amazon and its forthcoming “HQ2” headquarters.
Raleigh, with its vibrant startup scene and research institutions, has likewise shown resiliency as COVID-19 has taken hold. San Diego saw a 23% growth in job postings between February and March, with businesses such as Qualcomm, Booz Allen Hamilton and General Atomics all hiring.
Texas, meanwhile, continues to rise quickly, with Austin, Houston, and Dallas seeing significant year-over-year growth (41%, 47%, and 36%, respectively). COVID-19 has done nothing to negatively impact that rise, at least in March: Between February and March, Austin also saw 13% growth, with businesses including IBM, Charles Schwab and Advanced Micro Devices all looking to hire in high volumes. Dallas saw three% growth in that same month-over-month period, with Deloitte, Salesforce and KPMG topping the list of employers looking to hire.
Here’s the wider Burning Glass breakdown of year-over-year growth (or decline) in job postings (Q1 2019 to Q2 2020).
Southern California Competes With Silicon Valley
San Diego and Los Angeles both experienced notable year-over-year and February-to-March growth in job postings. This 12-month rise in the job fortunes of Southern California cities stands in contrast to what’s going on in Northern California, where the cities that make up Silicon Valley are plateauing. For instance, San Jose declined -4% year-over-year, along with Sunnyvale (-7%) and San Francisco (-2%).
Does that mean Southern California is threatening to eclipse Silicon Valley? Not in the short term. San Francisco and the Bay Area remain home to many of the biggest names in tech, and, like so many other tech hubs, the rise of COVID-19 doesn’t seem to have resulted in much negative impact in the extreme short term: For example, San Francisco and San Jose saw job postings rise 13% and 12% between February and March, respectively.
It’s also worth noting that many Silicon Valley companies, including Google, were among the first to shut down their headquarters and institute work-from-home policies for employees. As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, many of the products created by these firms—including social networks, email, video conferencing, and messaging software—will only become more vital to keeping commerce running.
But the rise of tech hiring in Southern California, along with Texas, demonstrates that, when it comes to tech hubs, everything is always in a state of flux. With the right combination of companies and talent, growth can continue even in a crisis.
Across states and regions, the need for remote work and social distancing is increasing the demand for technologists who can provide everything from e-commerce portals to maintaining cloud architecture. While the timeline for the COVID-19 crisis is uncertain, some of the early signals around tech job demand are promising. Though, the tech hiring data will require continued monitoring to understand the full impact.
Assessing the initial impact of COVID-19 on tech hiring.
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