Where Are All the Jobs?


By Eileen Feretic

Why aren't Fortune 500 businesses hiring more staff when many of them are hoarding vast quantities of cash? That was a key issue raised at a recent Harvey Nash Leadership Lecture Series.

The answer? They don't have enough confidence in the future, said Albert Ellis, global president and CEO of Harvey Nash. He added that the situation in Europe is mixed; the economy in Asia is slowing down; some governments around the world are cutting spending; money is tight; and tax strategies don't encourage job creation.

On a bright note, Ellis pointed out the success of the tech sector despite the tough economy. As an example, he reminded the business executives in the audience that mobile technology took off first in Europe, but the United States is now the leader. "We wouldn't have expected that 10 years ago," he said. Cloud computing and social media have also grown significantly in recent years.

The keynote speaker, John Kerry, the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, also had some hopeful news about the economy. "We've had 23 successive quarters of growth, and we're doing a lot better than people think."

However, Kerry cautioned that we will be facing some big challenges down the road and said these issues are contributing to a lack of confidence on the part of individuals and businesses. "We're in a very polarized place in our politics, and we have to come to grips with our entitlement challenge," he said.

"We're in a very competitive world, vying for jobs, market share and opportunities. We need to get serious about the competitive challenges and look for opportunities to work with partners around the world. And we need a fiscally responsible framework."

Kerry added that we need to invest in education, infrastructure, energy and technology, and said such investments could eventually result in 20 million jobs. "The government needs to create a structure in which businesses can make the investments choices needed to stay competitive and create jobs," he said.

After the event, Harvey Nash gave Baseline information about technology jobs that are hot now. They include the following: senior/principal software engineers; senior Web/UI developers (specifically, Java development); project managers; interaction (UI/UX) designers and developers; assistant vice presidents and director-level managers in quality assurance, business analytics, infrastructure and applications; automation engineers (Java/.NET developers with automation skills); "server side" engineers (C++) and testers; and iOS and Android developers. It seems that jobs are out there for individuals with the right training and experience. Unfortunately, there aren't anywhere near enough jobs--or enough training to give people the skills required for those positions.

By working together, government and business could change that. The question is, Will they?