Twin Cities' National and Global Image

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Didier
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Didier » March 6th, 2015, 10:51 am

The issue of companies not being able to find skilled employees is national. It's driving the push for better STEM education and immigration reform.

QuietBlue
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby QuietBlue » March 6th, 2015, 11:58 am

Didier wrote:The issue of companies not being able to find skilled employees is national. It's driving the push for better STEM education and immigration reform.
STEM is a broad, broad category of employee, though. In some fields there is definitely a glut of workers rather than a shortage (ask anybody in biotech or pharmacology, for example).

Plus, employee shortages are cyclical anyway -- yeah, right now there's a shortage of skilled IT workers, but there certainly wasn't in the early 2000's after the dotcom bubble burst and technology outsourcing was taking off (something that I think helped contribute to the current situation). Or look at anything related to construction -- right now it's hot, but it was dead as can be five years ago, and who knows where it will be in another five.

Didier
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Didier » March 6th, 2015, 12:43 pm

The greater point, though, is that a shortage of tech workers in Minneapolis doesn't necessarily mean we are done for.

gpete
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby gpete » March 6th, 2015, 2:53 pm

The real issue is that these companies have no real allegiance to Minnesota. They'd rather move instead of offering higher wages to entice tech people to work for them. Because that's the real way you solve a labor shortage: Offer higher salaries.

These large companies prefer that our governments invest money in initiatives to train people in tech-related fields. That will put more people on the job market, and then they don't have to raise salaries.

David Greene
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby David Greene » March 6th, 2015, 4:00 pm

xandrex wrote:
Unity77 wrote:I'm a recruiter within the Twin Cities tech sector and I've recruited for both agency as well as in-house. Twin Cities companies are facing a number of issues when it comes to attracting and keeping talent ... Target has had to set up tech shop elsewhere (Cailifornia) because it can’t find the talent here.
Unity77 wrote:There are companies like Amazon recruiting local talent left and right and locals are worried about what we should be referred to as.
These two statements do not seem congruous. Which is it?

And beyond that, I'm curious what the remedy is. We're never going to change the weather (well, at least at a micro level), so what's the solution that government officials should be focused on? We're already a high-wage, pretty high QOL, and lack the expenses of the coasts (all of this, of course, why the Atlantic had the whole "Miracle in Minneapolis" thing). Most of the issues you raise aren't exactly anything that the City of Minneapolis or Met Council or State of Minnesota can wave their wand and change.
I work for a tech firm that's been around since the Twin Cities was Silicon Valley. It's hard to recruit for certain tech skills, but I don't think we've had a problem recruiting for tech in general. We certainly seem to have a steady stream of new people starting. But the fact is some of the stuff we do is very highly specialized and there just isn't a large number of people in the world that do that kind of thing. That's where the challenge lies for us.

That said, it is pretty hard to compete witth wages on the coasts. Yes, living expenses, but recruits don't really consider that. They just look at the number. I know people working remotely from Iowa (!) for big Valley companies who make about a gazillion dollars more than I do.

One thing we need to do is promote our tech industry much better. We're known as an arts and culture center but we really ought to be known as a tech center too. Not only do we have an incredible history we have a lot of really great companies here. Microsoft is here. IBM is here. Oracle is here. That's not even mentioning the hundreds of smaller local firms like Code42 and The Nerdery. There's a very big financial tech center here not to mention all of the back shop work at places like Target and United Health.

I also wonder if some of those Amazon jobs are remote. If people are living and working here, does it matter as much that they're working for an out-of-state company?
Last edited by David Greene on March 6th, 2015, 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

David Greene
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby David Greene » March 6th, 2015, 4:09 pm

gpete wrote:These large companies prefer that our governments invest money in initiatives to train people in tech-related fields. That will put more people on the job market, and then they don't have to raise salaries.
It's true that companies have really cut back on training and expect universities to now be vocational schools. That's a huge problem.

However, I think we do need to encourage more people to go into computing technology, particularly the more specialized fields. I believe it when I read that tech people are concerned about visas because there's a glut of tech workers. There's a glut in *some* areas. But there is very much a shortage in others. Basically nobody teaches compilers at the undergrad level anymore, for example. And networking is reduced to TCP/IP or worse.

I tell students that if they want to be hired, take the courses that aren't required. Because those are the ones no one else takes and you'll have a leg-up in the skills department.

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FISHMANPET
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby FISHMANPET » March 6th, 2015, 4:17 pm

David Greene wrote: That said, it is pretty hard to compete witth wages on the coasts. Yes, living expenses, but recruits don't really consider that. They just look at the number.
Especially in the age of internet shopping, there are lots of goods whose prices do not change between regions. Even with the higher cost of living, someone making a salary with the same proportion vs cost of living compared to me can still buy more MP3s on Amazon and more Macbooks and more plane tickets home (it's much easier for a friend in Seattle to come visit me than it is for me to visit him) etc etc.

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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby QuietBlue » March 9th, 2015, 9:56 am

FISHMANPET wrote:Especially in the age of internet shopping, there are lots of goods whose prices do not change between regions. Even with the higher cost of living, someone making a salary with the same proportion vs cost of living compared to me can still buy more MP3s on Amazon and more Macbooks and more plane tickets home (it's much easier for a friend in Seattle to come visit me than it is for me to visit him) etc etc.
That makes me wonder if a good recruiting strategy/pitch would be to focus on older workers with families rather than younger ones, since the former will be more sensitive to the cost of living.

Tyler
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Tyler » March 9th, 2015, 10:00 am

Ehh. Cost of living is all about housing.
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QuietBlue
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby QuietBlue » March 9th, 2015, 10:42 am

Well, yeah. Housing is the largest single expense for most people. I'm not sure what you're saying there.

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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby RailBaronYarr » March 9th, 2015, 11:16 am

Tyler wrote:Ehh. Cost of living is all about housing.
Yes but even if housing costs you 45% of your Silicon Valley income vs 30% of your MSP income for a comparable home (just an example, though I suspect people are willing to live smaller in CA due to weather/etc), that 55% left over is more than the 70% leftover here.

Tyler
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Tyler » March 9th, 2015, 11:33 am

QuietBlue wrote:Well, yeah. Housing is the largest single expense for most people. I'm not sure what you're saying there.
Sorry, I wasn't really replying to you. I just don't think internet sales / milk/ jeans really come into the equation.
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Tyler
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Tyler » March 9th, 2015, 11:37 am

RailBaronYarr wrote: Yes but even if housing costs you 45% of your Silicon Valley income vs 30% of your MSP income for a comparable home (just an example, though I suspect people are willing to live smaller in CA due to weather/etc), that 55% left over is more than the 70% leftover here.
Is that legit? I don't know much about this topic but I do know exactly what 4K/mo gets you in The Mission -- and it ain't much. But like you said, most would chose to live there regardless. Focusing on local/regional talent and families seems smart. But I'd bet that's what companies are already doing.
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Elliot Altbaum
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Elliot Altbaum » March 9th, 2015, 11:56 am

Minneapolis announces participation in new White House program TechHire. Seeks to get groups underrepresented in IT fields quick training for entry level positions.
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/n ... S1P-138445
All 20 cities here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire

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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby David Greene » March 9th, 2015, 9:23 pm

QuietBlue wrote:That makes me wonder if a good recruiting strategy/pitch would be to focus on older workers with families rather than younger ones, since the former will be more sensitive to the cost of living.
It is probably highly company-dependent. If our group tried to hire older/established workers, we'd pay through the nose. In fact we have. It's a tricky balancing act.

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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby David Greene » March 9th, 2015, 9:29 pm

Elliot Altbaum wrote:Minneapolis announces participation in new White House program TechHire. Seeks to get groups underrepresented in IT fields quick training for entry level positions.
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/n ... S1P-138445
All 20 cities here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire
This could be a great program for people dealing with opportunity barriers. I wish though that we did a better job cultivating careers rather than jobs. I die a little bit inside every time I see a resume loaded with the latest buzzwords and very specific yet common skills. The problem is on both the employer and candidate side. Neither one seems to understand that it's better to hire people who can learn than to hire people with a checklist of skills. There's a reason IBM Watson is full of physicists, psychologists, artists and writers in addition to computer science types.

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Nick
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby Nick » March 9th, 2015, 11:44 pm

David Greene wrote:I die a little bit inside every time I see a resume loaded with the latest buzzwords and very specific yet common skills. The problem is on both the employer and candidate side.
So do I, but I feel like the kind of people who are in HR departments tend to eat that shit up. How many words long is the best way to phrase "filing"?

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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby mister.shoes » March 10th, 2015, 7:54 am

I was promoted to a managing director role a few months back, and with that comes the whole hiring thing. We are growing like crazy (web development, FWIW) and have had to resort to using a lot of contractors, simply because it's hard to find really good people in this field.

(See Unity's post a page back that referenced the Nerdery and their Prime Academy project/spinoff. We're one of the partner companies.)

Anyway, when we bring in a contractor we need him/her to hit the ground running, which means having little time/energy for training and education. If that person doesn't have the specific skills we need, we simply can't pay them [a crazy amount of money]/hr to learn both general skills *and* our application-specific implementations thereof.

When it comes to reviewing candidates for our full-time openings, I'm more willing to look at people who have a solid base but would require a lot more learning time. It's [obviously] a function of the level of commitment: if I'm going to keep you here long-term I'm going to do whatever it takes to get you up to speed, but if you're a 3- or 6- or 12-month hired gun you best show up ready to go.
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min-chi-cbus
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 10th, 2015, 8:13 am

David Greene wrote:
Elliot Altbaum wrote:Minneapolis announces participation in new White House program TechHire. Seeks to get groups underrepresented in IT fields quick training for entry level positions.
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/mayor/n ... S1P-138445
All 20 cities here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire
This could be a great program for people dealing with opportunity barriers. I wish though that we did a better job cultivating careers rather than jobs. I die a little bit inside every time I see a resume loaded with the latest buzzwords and very specific yet common skills. The problem is on both the employer and candidate side. Neither one seems to understand that it's better to hire people who can learn than to hire people with a checklist of skills. There's a reason IBM Watson is full of physicists, psychologists, artists and writers in addition to computer science types.
Just curious, what DO you prefer to see on a resume? If somebody doesn't have a super-specific and unique skillset, what are they supposed to tout?

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Twin Cities' National and Global Image

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 10th, 2015, 8:17 am

Nick wrote:
David Greene wrote:I die a little bit inside every time I see a resume loaded with the latest buzzwords and very specific yet common skills. The problem is on both the employer and candidate side.
So do I, but I feel like the kind of people who are in HR departments tend to eat that shit up. How many words long is the best way to phrase "filing"?
I believe it's not what you did in your day-to-day dealings, but what you've accomplished as a result. I.e. "Developed a filing system that eliminated redundancies and increased efficiency by 40%". However, like that one, many things are not easily objective/quantifiable, but I believe the gist of it is to emphasize accomplishments rather than list actions.


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