NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Heavy-Duty Fight To Recruit Techies

November 18, 1999

Recruiters at high-tech companies are reportedly battling each other tooth-and-nail to sign up high-tech workers -- particularly engineers who design hardware and software and create web pages.

Trade sources say there were at least 350,000 openings nationwide for programmers, systems analysts, and computer scientists and engineers as of 1998. One in every 10 information technology jobs goes unfilled.

So the recruiters are having to offer extraordinary benefits to employee candidates:

  • Experts report that salaries in specific high-demand areas have gone up 18 percent to 20 percent in the last year.
  • Fifty percent of junior technical employees now have stock options as part of their pay packages -- up from 35 percent three years ago.
  • Signing bonuses can range from $5,000 to $20,000 and paid vacations of up to four or five weeks for starting employees are not uncommon.
  • When rare layoffs do occur at a company involved in a merger or experiencing a downturn, recruiters reportedly wait in the company's parking lot to scoop up the discards.

Silicon Valley alone has an estimated 1,000 recruiters, and some with only a few years of experience are said to be making $100,000 to $200,000 a year.

Source: Matt Richtel, "Need for Computer Experts Is Making Recruiters Frantic," New York Times, November 18, 1999.


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