Career Center Blog

September 3, 2009

Recruiter sees hints of tech job revival


NWjobs

Yesterday morning I had a little chuckle over the tongue-in-cheek Seattle Times headline, "In case you missed it, recession now over." MarketWatch's Greg Robb, wrote about how the Institute for Supply Management's purchasing managers' index had risen above a critical 50 percent level, indicating a return to manufacturing growth and prompting some economists to declare that the recession is essentially kaput.

Uh-huh, I thought. Tell that to the 323,500 people still unemployed in Washington, 40 percent of whom live in Seattle.

Soon after my derisive snort, however, I was contacted by a recruiter friend I had met recently at the last Seattle Job Social. Matthew Allen, a principal with Vertical Move, which recruits for the high-tech software market, wanted to share a small piece of genuinely good, irony-free news. In just the last couple of weeks, his firm had taken on more than 10 new accounts. The companies, he said, were looking to fill about 25 to 30 new positions in the region; with the inclusion of Vertical Move's business in Northern California, the firm was "sitting on 70 to 80 job openings" in the tech sector.

Most importantly, Allen said, the new client companies were calling him, not the other way around. "We, as a firm, have seen a tremendous pickup in the last few weeks," he said. "We're having to solicit companies less to get business. In the last two months, we've had to double in size."

Many of the job openings, Allen said, are "individual contributor" positions in software product management. Other positions include product marketing, IT support and sales. Some clients, he said, appear to be building entire sales forces rather than just hiring a few individuals.

"We're seeing about seven production management positions open now," he said. "In the last nine months, we had zero." The news is especially encouraging, Allen added, because product manager jobs are often a lagging indicator of economic growth, showing that companies may be getting serious about spending money on new projects and building up staff to handle the workload.

"When you listened to the water-cooler talk over the last nine to 12 months, it was all about the recession," Allen said. "Now, you're starting to hear more people talk about recovery. Companies are starting to feel the market is coming back, and they're hurrying to hire all the great talent out there before it gets taken by someone else."

It's just one observation; one recruiter who mostly follows one industry. But it's a prominent industry in this town. And it's one of the best local indicators I have seen in many months that the fortunes for the general job market in this region may be turning.

Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

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2 Comments

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Told you so.

Yea, you're brilliant.

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Contributor

Karen Burns Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Kristen Fife Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.

Lisa Quast Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Randy Woods Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Former contributors

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

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