Editor’s note: The Skinny blog is written by WRAL TechWire cofounder and editor Rick Smith. TechWire is now in its 20th year of operation.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Looking for a downside to Google bringing some 1,000 high-tech jobs to Durham for its new engineering hub ? Try this: Triangle companies already are having trouble filling jobs that are already available and keeping talent they already have.
So say executives at two talent firms.
“The tech recruiting market will definitely be impacted, especially in the short term while Google will be the shiny new penny in the area,” warns Craig Stone, CEO of Triangle based HireNetworks. “It happens every time – Deutsche Bank, Fidelity, Credit Suisse, MetLife … When large companies open and staff a tech facility here, it does remove a lot of talent from the market. Cloud engineers and other tech roles are already in high demand so that will continue.”
Making things worse right now: Triangle firms are rapidly hiring up as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. North Carolina companies across the state have more than 20,000 IT-related jobs to fill, according to the NC Technology Association. And a surge in biotech-related hiring is coming with plants such as a $2 billion facility planned for Holly Springs from Fuijifilm as well as others will increase demand for life science talent – manufacturing to IT engineers to scientists.
High-paying jobs such as at Google and the life science firms (just under $100,000 for 700+ jobs at the Fuji plant) will exacerbate other issues as well – housing, gentrification. These issues require attention across the Triangle, not just Durham or Raleigh’s soutside where the massive Downtown South development poses a variety of challenges.
But economic developers respond: Wouldn’t you prefer to have companies competing for talent than laying people off?
Demand poses challenges for companies of all sizes, too. New tech startups won’t be immune.
Jake Shepherd, senior managing director at Vaco Raleigh’s VacoBuilt Engineering and Services, points out that startups and smaller businesses will have to fight for talent given Google’s stature. But Shepherd also says employees at smaller firms tend to enjoy that kind of atmosphere.
“I fear that in the short term, there will be an SMB talent massacre and those companies will need to find ways to prepare to get that work done and meet their business objectives,” Shepherd warned.
“Long story short. It has already been extremely difficult for SMB and startup companies here in the area to compete for top engineering talent without large companies remotely swooping in with big logos, stock options and 30-40% higher salaries. We have seen many wonderful companies, with fair salaries, equity and benefits struggle to find the mid to senior level talent already.”
So what should smaller businesses do? Get better at training and recruiting, according to Stone.
“It still comes down to many local companies not being prepared to hire and equip the droves of extremely talented recent grads here in the area,” Shepherd said. “If we can cultivate our own talent, we can be better prepared as a region for growth. Not to mention the amazing value that hiring up and coming engineers has on building a diverse workforce.”
Stone’s view differs.
“Although it will be a big draw, I think early stage companies will weather the storm. Typically the people that prefer to work for startups are not looking to work for companies the size of Google,” he said.
“With that said, Google is a reputable and coveted place to work. It will be a great addition to our tech community. It will help continue our validation as fast growing top tech hub. It will help bring new tech workers to the area. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out!”
Both see the Triangle benefiting from Google’s new hub even if recruiting gets more intense.
“[H]aving a large tech-centered company bring a HQ here only further solidifies the reputation of Raleigh-Durham to produce and attract top talent,” Shepherd said. “Hopefully the overall magnetic ability of Google will bring more talent to the area to backfill the open positions in the remaining companies.”
Added Stone: “Google is a reputable and coveted place to work. It will be a great addition to our tech community. It will help continue our validation as fast growing top tech hub. It will help bring new tech workers to the area. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out!”