Pop quiz: Which U.S. region offers tech pros the best prospects for jobs over the next six months? The answer, according to Dice’s latest semi-annual hiring survey, is “all of them,” with a majority of hiring managers and recruiters nationwide saying they want to hire more technology professionals throughout the balance of 2014: The good news doesn’t end there: Whether reporting from the West, Midwest, South or Northeast/East, recruiters suggested that tech pros were feeling confident enough about the market to ask for more money from prospective employers: While the good news about hiring trends is pretty uniform across the survey’s four regions, some of the variations between those regions are striking.
For example, of those recruiters who said it was taking longer than ever to fill open positions, some 54 percent of those in the West believed it was due to difficulties in finding qualified applicants, a regional increase of 9 points from November 2013; by contrast, some 48 percent of respondents in the Midwest complained of the same difficulty—a drop of 6 points from November 2013—while 46 percent of those in both the South and Northeast/East experienced issues with finding the best-qualified folks for the job.
The thermonuclear-hot startup scene in Northern California might have much to do with Western recruiters’ difficulties on the hiring front. In a bid to draw talent, some young tech firms around San Francisco have expressed a willingness to shell out substantial sums as referral bonuses , among other incentives. Of those recruiters who reported that the time needed to fill open positions was actually shrinking, some 32 percent in the West said it was due to an ease in finding qualified candidates, ahead of the Midwest (22 percent), Northeast/East (8 percent) and South (4 percent).
How can the West lead in both recruiters reporting difficulties in finding qualified recruits, and those saying that finding suitable hires is easy? A hot market attracts professionals, filling a talent pool from which companies can draw, provided the latter is willing to pay enough to bring in those top candidates. The West also leads in recruiters reporting “slightly increased hiring plans” (35 percent) and either at the top or near the top in companies willing to pay some degree of higher salary for new hires. (The West heads the list of regions in wanting candidates with six years of professional experience and up, which could partially explain that higher-salary trend.) It’s possible that Western companies with excellent reputations and compensation packages can pull in the best of the best from the local pool without needing to engage in extensive searches, even as other companies in the same region struggle to fulfill their own talent requirements.
In a heartening sign, a full 79 percent of recruiters across all regions felt that layoffs weren’t likely within the next six months; roughly 72 percent also reported that the number of voluntary departures hadn’t increased since 2013, hinting at employee happiness. The majority of salaries for new hires will reportedly stay level or slightly increase in the near future, with recruiters in the Midwest leading (slightly) on the latter with 48 percent: In the years following the Great Recession , every quarter has seemingly offered its share of bad news: Unemployment is up, or not going down fast enough; economic growth is anemic, or predicted to fall; market segments struggle to recover, or disappear entirely.
While the economic situation could always shift again—after all, the collapse that precipitated the Great Recession came as a surprise to many—this latest data suggests some cause for (dare we say it) optimism.
Good News: Recruiters Want Tech Pros Across All Regions