By Gary Fowler, Analog Solutions, www.analogsolutions.com
The demand for analog talent continued to escalate in 2006, as organizations have continued to prosper and grow. Startups have continued to receive funding and, as a result, have continued to attempt to recruit top talent, which has brought about competitive challenges unseen since the late 90's. Seasoned professionals in the areas of design, applications, marketing, product, and test are being presented with numerous opportunities on a regular basis. (Do we hear “engineering shortage?”)
As a result of this activity, companies are being forced to become very aggressive, both in keeping current employees happy, and in adjusting compensation packages accordingly. This is putting further strain on companies trying to lure these prospective candidates into accepting offers with their organizations. Outsourcing has been ineffective at replacing talented US engineers, despite the fact that many US engineers fear that this is a serious threat to their survival!
I don't see this minor trend affecting either the demand or the bigger picture in the near term. There are a number of things companies must do to increase their chances of success in the recruitment area in this current market. Beyond the obvious money issues, the hiring process is the key to improving the acceptance rate.
It is vitally important to streamline the hiring process and respond quickly to candidates that meet or exceed the hiring expectations. The days of making long, drawn-out decisions and delaying on extending offers are over. Whether a given candidate is actively looking or passively looking, it is certain that he/she will have multiple interviews. Any delays in the interviewing process or the decision process will almost certainly decrease the chances of landing the chosen candidate.
It is imperative that companies become very good at marketing and selling their company to prospective candidates. Candidates have become much more adept at scrutinizing business models and analyzing technology trends.
From the candidates' side, they are experiencing some challenges as well, because of the numerous opportunities and the prolonged hiring process. Whereas they would like to have all their options on the table prior to making a career decision, they are often forced to respond to the offers with which they have been presented. Because of the numerous opportunities and high demand for their skills, it becomes a challenge to orchestrate the interviews within their time constraints. In many cases, they are not able to complete the interviewing process with other prospective employers. In addition, another challenge can come from a candidate's indecision about what it is that he or she is really interested in doing.
The solutions are quite obvious for someone in my position, in that prospective candidates need to spend a little more time planning their careers, so they are certain as to what they are looking for in a career move. On the companies' side, they must be more certain as to what they are seeking in a candidate, and then be more aggressive in the recruiting process.
The hottest areas of demand in analog continue to be in power management, wireless, and classical analog design. We have also seen an increase in the demand for more junior-level people for the first time since 2001. I would expect the 4th quarter to slow slightly, as this is a normal holiday time in addition to companies planning for the New Year's activity.
In a future column I will shed some detailed light on the process issues that will lead to better hiring decisions, and at the same time will help large and small organizations increase their chances of hiring in this current market. I will also devote a future column to helping candidates develop a plan that will ensure a more promising career. Stay tuned!
About the Author
Gary Fowler is President and Founder of Analog Solutions, (www.analogsolutions.com), a Professional Recruiting firm, devoted to the Analog and Mixed Signal space. He has over 25 years of experience as an Executive Recruiter. His clients over the years have included several Fortune 500 companies as well as many emerging, well funded startups. In addition, he has relationships with several leading Venture Capitalists and Investment Bankers, who serve the analog semiconductor industry. He holds a BS in Human Resources Management from NYU, and MS in Management Science from SUNY Binghamton.