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Scot Melland, CEO of Dice Holdings, the parent of tech-focused job site Dice.com, came by our offices this morning to discuss the job market. The takeaway? Things are less bad, but by no means good. “Overall things are better,” he said. “Confidence is there again, and there are opportunities out there.”
One opportunity he’s seeing in the tech sector is so-called “virtualization,” a cost-saving process where the servers in corporate data centers are made to run more efficiently. (Software maker VMWare, majority owned by EMC, is a leader here.) Melland noted that the unemployment rate in the tech sector is just 5.7%, well below the near 10% we’re seeing nationally. So while recruitment is certainly down from peak levels, there is still a good amount of “churn,” or job-hopping, going on - at least in the highly-skilled technology arena.
Dice also handles finance jobs through its 2006 acquisition of efinancialcareers.com. John Benson, the amiable Brit who runs that site, says while job postings are down by half overall on the site, there are opportunities at smaller, boutique firms and in Asia. Some finance workers, though, are looking to leave the industry entirely, at least temporarily, and Benson noted that Britain’s National Health Service and even Buckingham Palace are looking to hire disgruntled finance pros.
Melland says he expects hiring to lag the economic recovery by three to six months, and even when hiring picks up, much of it will be temporary contract employment as companies gauge how real the turnaround is. Such an environment makes for a buyer’s market for talent, which means jobseekers will have to deftly position themselves as the perfect candidate. While there are more tools out there for jobseekers than ever before thanks to the growth of social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Melland advises jobseekers to manage and police their online personas to ensure that they enhance, rather than impede, their job prospects.
What do you think of the job market right now?
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