Employers are only hiring narrowly

August 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm 5 comments

This report supports the hypothesis that I’ve heard from many people explaining the contradictory messages, from employers saying there aren’t enough candidates, to unemployed workers saying that they can’t find jobs.  Employers are getting more picky.  This report is particularly scary.  Not only is industry unwilling to teach skills, they want people who know those skills from the same industry sector.

A top recruiter says engineering positions are getting more specialized, which doesn’t bode well for job seekers

Mike Delaney, an EE and founder of the recruitment firm Global Network Recruiting (GNR), which specializes in the high-tech industry, recalls what the engineering job market was like when he first got into the business in the early 1990s: “We were going through this tech bubble and things were just exploding. There was a ton of money and a ton of engineers. Everybody was changing jobs–I was taking engineers from the defense industry who were doing chips and embedded software and putting them into telecom jobs and vice versa.”

Not anymore.

And that doesn’t bode well for engineers who’ve been caught up in a lay-off or are simply looking for a change, as their skill sets alone (with the exception of analog power management, which is in huge demand) may no longer be enough to impress hiring managers. Delaney does note that individuals fluent in embedded software, C, and core processors are likely to have better luck, as these skills are more transferable and in demand.

But with seemingly their pick of qualified candidates, Delany says that companies are increasingly less willing to cross individuals into industries. “There’s a learning curve with anyone starting a new position, and it’s exaggerated when that person is also moving into a new industry,” says Delaney. “Ideally, hiring managers want to hire people from the same sector.

via Employers getting more picky hiring engineers.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Miller  |  August 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    This doesn’t really surprise me. I was reading about something similar after the tech crash of 2001. One case I remember from back then is of a hospital looking for an IT worker with experience with medical equipment. They got about 35 applicants with that. The employer then decided to shoot for the moon and said they wanted someone with the same qualifications AND emergency room experience.

    I was reading from about 2000 onward that employers were increasingly wanting workers who had industry experience in addition to IT skills, and that this was going to be a long-term trend. There was tacit advice as well saying that college students should probably double major or take CS as a minor. If people have been paying attention they know that what you’ve highlighted has been coming for a long time.

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