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Where The Jobs Are

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

So something strange has been happening to me and some friends in the job market. People are reaching out to us with great positions. In other states.

Now we’re in Silicon Valley, technical professionals. Sure Silicon Valley has its problems, but reaching out to us to see if, hey, y’now maybe you’d like to leave, seems weird. Like why do recruiters assume we might want to pick up and move cross country?

So I decided a little analysis is in order for you careerists as I’m betting you’re seeing this too.

The Valley Paradox

First up, there’s a bit of a paradox about Silicon Valley. It’s harder to get employed here if you live away, but much easier when you’re here. I know someone who looked for work for months in the Valley, but when they moved here they had a partial offer in two weeks, a contract in four weeks, and an offer at that same company two weeks later. When you’re in the Valley it’s a bit easier to stay in the valley job-wise.

So I’m not sure if anyone is up to leave because coming back would probably be a wee bit harder. Besides I get the impression if anyone is leaving, it’s permanent, and that means giving up a lot.

But people are certainly reaching the hell out to here, which makes sense. If you’ve got time at one of the big names, or experience in the right industries, you’re valuable. I mean who’s going to turn down hiring someone who was at Apple or Google – even as a contractor.

Which leads to one of my first realizations of these Valley Raiders:

A Silicon Valley Hire Is Valuable

For all those recruiters wondering if I’d like to swap Sunny California for, say, Colorado, what have they got to loose?

Getting someone from Silicon Valley is pure gold for a recruiter. Who’s going to turn them down? Who’s going to say no? Who’s not going to offer them a lot of money? Not only is it assumed such a hire is good, much like hiring someone with a useful certification, hiring someone from Silicon Valley insulates a recruiter from blame because everyone assumes that hire was probably a good idea.

(Or in short, if the Silicon Valley hire fails, no one blames the HR person).

So it’s probably worth spamming people with leads.

Next, are people trying to leave the Valley? Apparently, yes.

Yeah, Some Of Us Are Trying To Go

Silicon Valley has its problems. I won’t lie, I’ve written about the paradoxes before. Its crowded, its pricey, and if you’re not up to ply the career game here it’s not for you.  You have to have a plan to live here.

So it won’t surprise people that Silicon Valley is showing more “outbound” job searches lately.  More people here are at least exploring options, so if you’re a recruiter, why wouldn’t you take a few seconds to send a Valley candidate something else?  You might hit gold – and that gold is looking to mine itself.

OK, that metaphor sucked, so let’s distract from that by looking where recruiters are trying to send we Valley folk.

Where The Leads Are

Here’s the states I and my friend keep getting opportunities in – and why.

New Jersey

Yeah, I’m not exactly up for moving to New Jersey, but it’s a pretty decent place and it doesn’t deserve a lot of the jokes aimed at it. It has bad areas but also great ones, is conveniently located, and produced John Stewart. It’ll be better when they get rid of Chris CHristie, though he’s working hard to get rid of himself.

The unemployment rate is about 4.8%,kind of middling. (thanks BLS – http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm). I can see that putting a bit of pressure on recruiting, because . . .

It’s the 8th largest state economy in the US. Yes, little New Jersey has a GDP the size of Sweden. Suddenyl not a state to laugh at anymore is it? (Thanks Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_GDP)

I also noticed that the pay rates I get offered are competitive with Silicon Valley.  Yeah people are willing to pay Silicon Valley rates in New Jersey.

So short form here, I think recruiters trying to staff in NJ are smart hitting up the Valley. There’s probably a need for talent, its got a big economy, and some smart people are willing to toss around a lot of cash to make it work.

(That also means that NJ might be a good target if, say, you want to move and find work but Silicon Valley and other spots aren’t your bag)

Colorado

Colorado isn’t exactly a state I’ve considered moving to. I mean I’m sure it’s nice and all, but it’s not my thing. But I and friends keep hearing from them, and when you look at the numbers it makes sense.

First, Colorado has a 3.5 unemployment rate. That’s tight, they need people.

Second, it’s the 18th largest economy of the states. Not huge, but hey it’s Algeria.

Third, it’s a nice state in general. There’s cities like Denver, lovely areas, natural resources.  Colorado’s advantages remind me of some pitches I heard from Scottish recruiting companies – you get lovely land and great urban areas.  I can see the appeal.

Fourth, it sounds like it’s economy has gotten diversified and is expanding its footprint.  Colorado had its technical players once, and it sounds like they want to do it again.

When you analyze it Colorado is probably a pretty nice place to go if you want nature, a good economy, and tech and culture without the crowding.

I’m starting to notice.

Texas

Well when you get leads from Texas that’s pretty damned obvious. Texas is working to grow it’s tech sector, has decent employment, is the second largest economy after California, and you don’t get snow. Plenty of companies have offices or are starting them there, a few companies are moving there.

Now I’m not one that buys the Texas economic miracle – from infrastructure issues to dependency on fossil fuels, I’ll stick with California, thanks. I don’t trust the politics nor the long-term potential.  But I get why people think I may want to move there – growth, space, and of course a hell of a lot cheaper.

It’s also got medium-level unemployment, and the second largest economy in the US – roughly equal to one Canada.  I suspect Texas politicians may know the fossil fuel industry has problems and want to diversify.

So yeah, I think we have a picture of the recruiters bugging me and my friends.

Why People Are Targeting Silicon Valley Recruits

What did I find just traipsing through these offers? That some of these recruiters know what they’re doing. They’re figuring “why not” and targeting jobs with areas that have appeal – the pay and opportunities of NJ, the many options of Colorado, the growth in Texas. When I started this analysis I sort of wondered – now I don’t.

As you can see, some of these folks aren’t random – they know what they’re appealing to. It doesn’t hurt to wing off a few options to Silicon Valley people in case

But this also means something more for you, my geeky job seeker.

A lot of us love the Valley. A lot of us are’t leaving – though that’s not a mindset everyone shares. But if any of these places appeal to you, if some of the other geek areas aren’t your bag, go take a look.

Ask your friends what recruiters are approaching them, draw up a picture – like the one above – and see if anything comes out. You might just find your next job and a great new place to live.

And you can always sell the recruiter on the fact that hey, you’re willing to move.

Oh, but you still want that insane pay rate.

  • Steve