Sunday, July 22, 2012

English: The location of New York City within the state of New York.
It is not a happy time to be looking for a tech job or any job for that matter, of course. But people with technical skills have been reassuring themselves throughout the downturn that while the rest of the economy may be tanking, their business sector is doing just fine. While that may have been true once, it isn’t necessarily so anymore, according to recently-released figures by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Thanks in part to the 30,000-worker layoff announced by Hewlett-Packard, downsizing in the industry has reached a three-year high of 51,529 for the first half of the year, it said a 260% increase from the 14,308 cuts the same period a year ago. Worse news, the firm said, that midyear total is 39% higher than the year end total of 37,038, and is in fact the largest midyear total since 2009.

Hewlett-Packard led the way in first-half job cuts with 34,380. This was a significant increase from a year ago when computer firms announced a mere 3,178 job cuts from January through June.

But the tech jobs are out there, says John Barrett, managing director of Cook Associates Executive Search.
“What the numbers from Challenger, Grey show is that there is a reshuffling of the chairs on the deck–meaning that overall tech spending is up and while there might be some companies like HP that are retrenching that is more a reflection of the fact that the bad economy has exposed companies that are weakest.”

“Other companies are growing fast and hiring a lot,” he says, citing Google and IBM. Other cities and regions outside of Silicon Valley are active as well.

New York City’s High-Tech Appeal

New York City, for example, stands out in its quarterly East Coast Internet and Digital Media Jobs Index, which Cook Associates will release on Monday.

Headcount in New York City rose by 5.6% to more than 24,000 employees after showing a 6.2% gain in the first quarter, the index found. Also, a number of new companies were added to the New York survey, with almost 300 companies now being included that employ at least 10 individuals in the NY metro area in these industries.

Barrett estimates there will likely be a 20% in hiring this year in New York in the digital media sector. “That is huge,” he says.

A lot of the companies that are hiring  in New York that is  are, in fact, West Coast companies, he says.
Cook Associates found that, combined, West Coast companies including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yelp, Pandora, Zynga, Spotify and LinkedIn added more than 300 new workers in New York City during the quarter, accounting for about 40% of recent job growth here.

The report notes that while it’s been known for some time that these companies had established offices and were hiring in New York, the extent of their impact on the employment scene in this sector was not fully appreciated or understood.

Of course, hiring at the largest of these companies have been noted: the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Google was on a hiring binge in its New York City office. And in December, Facebook announced plans that it would open an engineering center in New York City its first outside of the West Coast.

Much of rest of the job growth came from local start-ups backed by venture capital. The report also found
that there are three trends driving current employment in the city: 1) innovative e-commerce platforms, 2) digital advertising technology driven by “big data” and automation, and 3) social networking platforms that find creative ways to connect people.