Thursday, Mar 29 2012

Silicon Valley Hiring (Dot) BOOM: Part Deux

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In the Silicon Valley today, we are undoubtedly seeing the “second act” of the mid-to-late 90’s dotcom IT hiring boom, with major technological innovation and investment in cloud, social, mobile, and business services software markets.  The Mercury News reports that venture capital funding in Silicon Valley in Q4 2011, totaled $3.028 billion, with a healthy $1.06 billion invested in the software sector, and $860 million in the business services sector.  Joint Venture Silicon Valley notes a 17% increase in VC investment in cloud computing, medical devices, and clean technology over the last 12 months.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, 2011 represented “the highest level of investment in Internet companies since the dot-com bust” and 2011 Silicon Valley employment was up 3.8% over 2010.

As noted in San Jose Inside, Joint Venture Silicon Valley published their employment statistics for February, noting 42,000 new jobs were created in the Silicon Valley alone in the last 12 months. Additionally, unemployment stands at 8% in the region vs. 11% across the state.

Tech-jobs website operator Dice, reported that salaries for software and other engineering professionals in the Silicon Valley rose 5.2% to an average of $104,195 last year, more than double the national average 2% increase, to $81,327, in tech-workers’ salaries. It was the first time since Dice began the salary survey in 2001 that the wage barometer broke the $100,000 barrier, noted Tom Silver, a Dice senior vice president. Hourly contractor bill rates across all technical categories to the end clients in Silicon Valley rose 11% last year to an average $74 an hour, compared with $63 an hour nationally (

The Wall Street Journal noted, “There’s a tussle for talent growing in Silicon Valley and employers have to pay up,” said Mr. Silver. Overall, tech-job postings in Silicon Valley on Dice rose to 5,026 earlier this month, up 26% from 3,974 a year ago, he said, even as tech-jobs postings nationwide only rose 11% over the same period.

On the high end of the contract technical labor market over the last two quarters, Armada has seen a 6.9% increase in bill rates for software engineers, a 4.0% increase in rates for technical project managers, and 6.4% increase in rates for skilled IT professionals like Linux systems administrators, DBA’s and the like.  Since the end of 2011, bill rates across all categories have increased 5.7 percent.

Multiple offer situations are very common in today’s market.  In Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, 57% of the candidates Armada made written offers to had another offer in-hand at the time ours was made.

Market velocity has increased significantly at The Armada Group as well, with average time to fill dropping from 51 days in Q2 2011 to 39 days on average in Q1 2012.

OK, so what lessons can be learned from this data and what strategies can you implement today in your business to ensure you can compete successfully to secure the talent you need to deliver the goods and meet your deadlines:

1)      Write precise titles and compelling job descriptions: How and why will yours stand out from the other 5000 “Sr. Software Engineer” postings on LinkedIn, CareerBuilder or DICE? Articulate the title and your requirements precisely.  “Sell” not only the role, but why someone wants to work for YOU and your company.

2)      Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: It’s critical to have a constant feedback loop with all the stakeholders involved in filling your role.  Educate the interview team on exactly how you’ve articulated the role to the recruiters helping you, and go through the latest, greatest job descriptions with your team, including nuances of the role and any changes made over the course of the recruiting process.  Gather detailed feedback with your team as to why/why not particular candidates were/weren’t a match and share that feedback with the recruiter working on your requirement.

3)      FOCUS & ACT with a high sense of urgency:  Quality candidates are gone in the blink of an eye in this market.  We all have overflowing in-boxes, imposing deadlines, and too much on our plates, but recruiting has to be a conscious focus and a priority. Schedule weekly meetings with your recruiter to ensure you are staying on top of your recruiting priorities.

4)      Be FLEXIBLE: There is no perfect fit. A candidate that is 80% of ideal, has a can-do attitude, and is a good team fit, is way, WAY better than spending an inordinate amount of time searching for the elusive perfect candidate.  Don’t compromise your ability to meet critical deadlines in the name of perfection.

5)      PERSONALIZE the closing process: Work with your recruiter to close the candidate you’ve decided on. Reach out and spend some extra time with the candidate when making an offer.  Be genuine, passionate and put yourself in their shoes.  When a candidate feels the manager and company is going the extra mile and truly cares about their success, it can make all the difference.