How has the strong uptick in business affected the JOB market?

DAC is coming faster than the recovery: is your company ready?

Does your company have enough qualified up-to-speed support folks to ensure your success? Now is the time to get them hired and up to speed. Next month I will talk more about DAC, but for now we need to talk about EDA, and JOBS.

The best and most fitting way to start this editorial commentary on the market, and secondarily JOBS, is to say…"Wow Wow Wow…things are really looking better"! (Yes I really do talk like that). Have you seen the performance reports on most of our sector???? My friends, there is no denying that things are certainly looking quite positive in the industry. Almost every company is reporting either record revenue or significant upside in profits or starts. These are current facts, and I do not care to debate the pundits or guess on the future…I want to deal in the here and now!

The evidence is overwhelming that the market is returning, and certainly in some cases, even exceeding previous record quarters…dramatically. The facts are exhilarating, and dare I say astounding. The three-month average of global semiconductor sales for March hit $23.06 billion, (now get this), the highest ever recorded in March and the second highest figure for any month, EVER! Of course EDA relates dynamically to the Semiconductor world but even goes beyond that. Almost all sectors that use EDA tools are reporting significant upside, and whether that is because of fledging inventories or simply because market demand has dramatically increased; it certainly points to a robust recovering economy.

OK, that was the good news, not all the news is so bright.

Certainly one would think that those kinds of numbers should also equate to the same kind of dramatic robust numbers in EDA; unfortunately I do not think that is exactly the case. Be assured, all the big boys are reporting significant increases, but I do not think the vast majority of start-ups are jumping up and down.

Of the many hierarchal people I converse with regularly, the consensus seems to be basically the same. Most say things are certainly better than they were, but not yet where they hoped it would be. And it is these basic conclusions that verify that EDA hiring has not achieved the level of robustness I, and others had hoped.

I know for my company, EDA-Careers, it has certainly been a marked improvement in activity since last year…MARKED! The problem is that the same mentality still exists. Over and over I hear some form of…

Even though business is significantly better, we are still not seeing the business to make us comfortable to make too many new hires. Personally I say the old adage, LESS IS MORE certainly seems applicable to the hiring going on in EDA. It seems that several companies are still using the resources they have, and holding back on pulling the hiring trigger. Fortunately this is not the case for all start-ups by far.

And second, which directly reflects my column of a few moths back…

The mentality of most hiring managers is to wait and wait till they find the exact perfect fit, rather that the 90% candidate that could be trained to be the 100% candidate.

I have said it before and I will say it again, as I am totally convinced of what I say…the months of waiting for a qualified candidate, and the time spent interviewing after interview, uses more internal resources than hiring the 90% person and working to get them up to speed sooner rather than later. We all know that no matter how good a candidate a company hires, (with a few exceptions of course) almost all engineers will need ramp up time. So, in theory, the 90% person could have already been up and trained, running, serving the companies interests.

You see, the 99% potential (DREAM) candidate that companies are waiting and waiting on, and conducting interview after interview on, actually take so much more of a company's internal resources, than just training someone real close, and that just seems like a big waste of time. And the fact is, no one knows how long it will take to actually find that exact fit. Almost every new hire no matter how good will still need a certain amount of ramp up time. If a company is in no rush, no problem, take your time. But if you really need someone, then find the 90% candidate and teach him or her to be the 99%...rather than wasting all that interview time. That is my feeling, and it is not self serving, it is just practical.

I do think however that there is a shinier silver lining emanating in the market. I honestly, firmly believe that more hiring will be happening real soon, and it will be out of necessity, not just choice to be ready if and when the need arises. In talking with my friend Vince Guel at Tabula, he astutely nailed it on the head when he said that more and more candidates have more than one offer these days, and my friends, that suggests that the viable candidate pool is shrinking as time goes on.

All I can say is that I have been in this business long enough to know that just like in Real Estate where there is sometimes a buyers market, and sometimes sellers, I suspect that very soon EDA could revert to the days when there were more reqs than people to fill them. (Just a new frustrating twist for us recruiters).

Next column DAC; and how it will affect the market. I hope to see you all there…Look for the guy in the WHITE SPORTCOAT, tie…not sure yet!

Review Article
  • VP Product Mgmt May 13, 2010
    Reviewed by 'D tn'
    Semi book to bill ratio is still down. The Semiconductor positive trends what you have pointed out are QoQ (Quarter over Quarter) pro-forma projections based on foundry utilization and that varies from company to company. Bottom line BB ratio is still under 1. Hiring is happening (Hopefully it should increase in leaps and bounds) and these reqs at any level are filled in directly by company HR, VC partner or the direct hiring managers as they are no longer interested to hire external/retained/whatever recruiters to bring in candidates to eliminate their fee which is now considered as an unnecessary overhead. Even if a particular req is outsourced to an external recruiter, you will find at least 10 external recruiters bidding for that position and that req eventually is filled by the Company HR or the hiring manager. Right now that is the hiring trend and external recruiters do not have the bandwidth or the relationship with the hiring manager to influence their thought process.

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