Tech Trends: How will the tech slowdown affect jobs in Bay Area?

By Vince Cestone, KRON and Gabe Slate

Published: February 25, 2016, 9:56 pm Updated: February 25, 2016, 9:59 pm


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — It’s not a bubble pop.

But Silicon Valley is entering a slowdown. How will this affect tech jobs in the Bay Area?

In Part 1 of this story on Wednesday [February 24], Tech Trends reporter Gabe Slate looked at all the evidence. And he heard from experts pointing to the conclusion that a big bubble burst is not about to happen in the Bay Area.


But there will be a big slow down.


Workers are being laid off, and the students graduating are entering the workforce.


Will it be harder for them to find a job? Gabe went to the source to seek answers.


In the heart of Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale is the NOVA job center. This is where people who have been laid off from a tech job go for help, or where people looking to get a tech job go for help.


“The hiring isn’t roaring the way it was last year, (but) it’s still pretty good,” NOVA spokeswoman Kris Stadelman said.


She said the slowdown has not affected tech jobs in the Bay Area–yet.


“We are still seeing people go back to work,” Stadelman said. “Oddly enough, there are still a lot of layoffs, but that is typical churn for Silicon Valley. That is natural to us. That is a normal job market.”


Gabe found that surprising. Usually, when we hear layoffs, we think doom and gloom.


But as Kris breaks down, a lot of layoffs doesn’t necessarily mean a bubble burst.


“For us, large layoffs are not abnormal, and in fact, the companies that are having large layoffs are often hiring at the very same time,” Stadelman said. “And that is simply because of the churn, it’s mergers, new products, old ones going away, it’s new coding languages, old ones becoming obsolete. That the demands for skills from employers are changing rapidly and that has been happening, and companies lay off those who have obsolete skills and go search in the marketplace to hire those with the most up-to-date skills.”


So, bottom line–Kris and other experts said for tech workers that are highly skilled, for now, they will still find it easy to get a job during this tech slowdown the Bay Area will be experiencing.


For those who are not highly skilled and for college grads looking to break into the tech scene, it will take longer to find a job than it did last year.


And they should “skill up” and consider getting a job overseas where there is less competition.


“One thing people can do to forestall a long period of unemployment is sort of anticipate what is the next big thing and skill up while you’re still employed,” Stadelman said. “Skills get obsolete very quickly around here. New occupations are created and destroyed very fast.” 


“What is not such great news is that if you’re young, you’re unexperienced, you don’t have a lot of contacts, it’s going to be harder in the future than it was in the past,” tech financial expert Erica Sandberg said. “If you’re job seeking in the tech industry right now, it’s time to step back a little bit from these dicey companies, these startups with no product, or very kind of a hazy product, aren’t turning a profit yet.”


Sandberg suggests going toward a more-established company and certainly a company that is turning a profit.


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