As the home of Microsoft, Amazon.com, Google and now Facebook, Seattle is a mecca for software engineers seeking employment. According to Seattle executive recruiting firm Allen Partners, startups and tech giants alike are vying for high-caliber tech talent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the 11 most populous metropolitan territories, the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area has the lowest unemployment rate at 5.3 percent. Allen Partners estimates that the unemployment rate for software engineers is far lower.
“I rarely talk to a software engineer who is out of work,” stated executive recruiter Ryan Biancofiori.
Biancofiori joined the employment agency Allen Partners in 2006 and is now a senior partner who manages the firm’s technology recruitment. Allen Partners is an agency that provides business professionals who use finance and technology to improve corporate results. Allen Partners employees also spend five percent of their time volunteering in the local community.
“Venture capital firms are investing a lot in our local market,” he stated. “Companies need money to build their software engineering teams, so they take extra funding to hire more engineers.” He added, “Seattle startups are being created daily. There’s an ever-increasing need for engineers. And the bigger companies, Google, Amazon, Microsoft – and now Facebook – need talent, too.”
Recruiters find job candidates that companies may not be able to find themselves.
“As recruiters, we already have a big need from our clients for high-caliber software engineering talent. We identify candidates who may be interested and excited in taking a meeting with that company. That’s how some of the best people are found – not those who are actively looking for another job, but those who are open to changing if a new job aligns with their interests.”
While Seattle has a well-founded reputation as a high-tech mecca, the reputation for an overabundance of talent is unfounded.
“We don’t have a surplus of candidates. It’s a challenge for companies, both big and small, to get the talent they need. It will be interesting to see how companies adapt over the next few years.”
According to Biancofiori, most companies are looking for the same candidate profile.
“Right now, companies are typically seeking candidates with strong computer science [CS] backgrounds, from top 25 schools and with experience in big companies like Microsoft or Amazon. We refer to them as Microsoft + 1 or Google + 1, which means that they have a CS degree, worked at a big company and then went to a startup. This is a prime candidate because they know what it’s like to work at a startup and at a large company.”
The market continues to favor candidates with CS degrees in Seattle and beyond.
“After Seattle bounced back from the financial downturn, we continued to see opportunities emerge with tech companies,” stated Biancofiori. “But schools like UW have limited capacity to take on too many more CS students than they already have. It will be interesting to see how the universities respond to the growing demand for software engineers in Seattle.”
Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.