Amar Mann, the chief regional economist in the bureau's San Francisco office, estimates that the tech job market has grown about 10% in the last year, slower than the Dice estimate, but given that overall unemployment in the United States has been stuck in the 9% range for some time, it's a very bright spot in the national economy, he adds.
In any case, employers are having to work harder to find the new hires they need this year. "It is an incredibly competitive job market. Finding the right people is hard," says Woodson Martin, Salesforce.com's senior vice president for employee success. Martin has a lot of jobs to fill. At the end of October, the company's career site listed 718 openings, including 36 under "information technology"; 30 in "technical operations," including the likes of Linux network system administrators; and 127 under "research and development," with jobs for software engineers in security and user interface development.
Akamai, which provides a platform for the delivery of Web content and applications, has about 200 job openings at the moment, about half in engineering, says Harold Prokop, senior vice president of the company's Intelligent Platform Group. Many smaller companies are hiring aggressively as well.
"Software engineers are the hottest," says Bill Reichert, managing director of Garage Technologies, a venture capital firm. "The higher the software level, the harder it is to fill those jobs."
Not surprisingly, salaries are inflating, sometimes significantly, says Reichert. How much they're increasing is hard to quantify; anecdotal evidence indicates that although there's good money to be made, companies are not repeating the mistake (from the employer's point of view) of paying unsustainably high wages. It's worth noting that a too-rapid, and too-expensive, ramp-up of the workforce helped kill many of the Silicon Valley startups founded in the year 2000, the height of the dot-com frenzy, according to a recent report by Mann and colleagues at the BLS. Tech companies have seemingly learned that lesson.