June 25, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

A sunny hiring season for job seekers

It's recruiting season and the forecast looks sunny for job seekers, so long as they're talented and willing to work at landing employment.

That's the consensus among analysts, students and big company recruiters who are struggling to find enough qualified applicants to fill their posts.

The overall unemployment rate for the computer industry at the end of last quarter was 2.1 percent, which is even lower than the 2.3 percent rate during the same quarter in 2000, the peak of the dot-com boom. Things are particularly bright for software engineers, whose unemployment rate was down to 0.9 percent last quarter, compared to 1.9 percent during the same period in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Jobs openings have peaked in the last nine months, said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer for Challenger, Gray & Christmas, whose placement firm crunches job market data. "In total of tech jobs, we're probably in a better position than we've ever been."

"From being an employers' market four years ago, it's now an employee-driven market."
--Sean Norris, Sapphire Technologies

This year's batch of students with degrees in engineering and computer science can take advantage of a job market that's grown steadily over the last four year years. Challenger cited Labor Department statistics showing unemployment for recent tech grads down to 2 percent.

"In the tight labor market there are many companies which are eagerly awaiting the new graduates," Challenger said. "They bring in new skills and expertise and they are not as high priced."

Silicon Valley, a bellwether for the overall tech industry, has also seen this steady growth, said Sean Norris, branch manager for Sapphire Technologies' San Francisco Bay Area IT recruiting office.

"From being an employers' market four years ago, it's now an employee-driven market," Norris said.

Competition fierce
Spring and summer are busy hiring times for companies and graduating students. But the recruiting process take place throughout the year through the likes of job fairs, lectures, alumni events and on-campus interviews.

Companies like Google, Microsoft and IBM put huge amounts of people, time and money into recruiting students, although they're unable to assign specific dollar figures to such efforts.

Click here to Play

Video: Getting hired via social network
Alumwire co-founder Aaron and Allan Sahagun discuss what inspired their social-networking site for helping recent college grads land a job.

IBM, for example, spends much more than $100 million on student activities annually, said Gina Poole, the company's vice president of innovation and university relations. "You can't even begin to count the time IBMers put into this," she said.

IBM has even created its own academic discipline, Services, Sciences, Management and Engineering (SSME) to help ensure future recruits will have the skill set the company looking for.

"For today and even more so in the future, we are working with universities around the world to make sure that they are delivering this pipeline of students," Poole said, in order "to meet the needs for us, or clients and business partners."

Like IBM and others, Microsoft is working hard to fill open positions. "We don't have trouble finding people," said Microsoft Technical Staffing Manager Jeremy Brigg, "but the pool of qualified folks in tech as a whole has shrunken in the U.S."

Microsoft is looking to hire 2,500 students this year, a combination of full-time and intern candidates. It would like to hire even more, but there are just not enough students with technical skills, Brigg said.

That shortage has been documented by various agencies, including Challenger's, which also noted an increasing demand for people who have "softer skills" that go beyond technical abilities. "I think that companies are putting a premium on tech workers who have a good EQ," as opposed to just IQ, Challenger said.

CONTINUED: Job has to fit right…
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14 comments

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Here it comes!
Those resume hoarding sites that boast about job fairs.

Thanks for the warning.
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Here is a video from you tube
that shows who and who isn't going to get these jobs. Then we will hear the whine about not enough skilled workers in the U.S. Here is the link. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.foxnews.com/video2/player06.html?062207/062207_sr_garrett&#38;Special_Report&#38;Cheap%20Labor%20101&#38;Cheap%20Labor%20101&#38;Politics&#38;-1&#38;News&#38;154&#38;&#38;&#38;exp" target="_newWindow">http://www.foxnews.com/video2/player06.html?062207/062207_sr_garrett&#38;Special_Report&#38;Cheap%20Labor%20101&#38;Cheap%20Labor%20101&#38;Politics&#38;-1&#38;News&#38;154&#38;&#38;&#38;exp</a>
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Reply Link Flag
its a video from Fox news not YouTube
...and it doesn't play (in my firefox anyway)
Posted by LarryLo (164 comments )
Link Flag
Don't believe there's a shortage
See this video on YouTube.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU</a>

The law firm depicted is detailing how companies can post a job vacancy, interview qualified US workers, and still hire an H1B instead.
Posted by alainassaf (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What HB-1's ?
Those ran out minutes after they were available for the year. I hardly think it makes any impact on the job market, anyone who wants one now is tough out of luck - yet people love to bash the industry for it.
Posted by Marcus Westrup (630 comments )
Link Flag
Thanks for
finding the original video. Fox covered this only for a day and then broke the link. Why is it that no other news orginization, including CNET, hasn't covered this. I think this is a big issue.
Posted by suyts (824 comments )
Link Flag
College Grads: some advice
You know whats funny, allot of U.S. companies are not happy with the poor quality of work that was sent over seas to India and China, like programming and IT stuff, and allot of those jobs are coming back to America, not all however.

Also, these HB-1 visa programs screw the people coming to the US to take these jobs. They get locked in at a low salary and cant get out of them till the contract is fulfilled. And you know these foreigners will not be promoted to management, so they get screwed there too. So its bad for US workers and the foreigners coming over here to get the jobs. If you are from India or China, your better off staying in your own country and get a job there,
Posted by lowenbrau212 (419 comments )
Reply Link Flag
College Grads: Take A Jaudiced View of This
I have to agree with the other posters - pay off those college loans when times are good (now) because when times are bad (2 years from now?) tech companies will disavow ever knowing you, or ever wanting you for a job.

It's your career kids. Don't let the cans of soda and the foozball hypnotize you!

And always get stock options, even if they turn out to be worthless.
Posted by bluerain44 (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You should always look out for #1...
No matter what you are - whether you're a college grad, or an
old fart like myself.

It's all about negotiation. Hit it now while times are sweet.

* find something with a solid company that has a proven record
and few layoffs in its history.

* always keep your skills sharp.

* if you're a college grad, work on getting experience - solid
experience. Most CS grads I know have little in the way of
practical experience, which is a weakness. Fix that.

HTH,

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
New Grads have more power than they think...
Our experience in working with new graduates has consistently reinforced our belief that the most important skills needed when heading into the job market are in interviewing. Knowing how to approach an interview, how to anticipate and respond to difficult questions, and knowing how to project confidence in the interview are the skills most often lacking in new grads.

New grads who take the time to enhance their interviewing skills will come out leaps &#38; bounds ahead of their competition.

Robin Ogden
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.firedupcareers.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.firedupcareers.com</a>
Posted by firedup2 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What is the source of the "overall unemployment rate for the computer industry"? If it was "2.1 percent" at the end of (presumably) 2007 Q1, what was it at the end of 2009 Q4? What are the projections going forward into 2010?
Posted by JackOfAllTrades2 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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