Even as hiring rebounds, 2004 will stand out as a year of recovery that didn't feel like one. For workers, "dry promotions" (with no pay raises) and declining bonuses and benefits took the shine off. But some recruiters say hiring may soar right after Christmas, as companies staff up to chase opportunities around the globe. And it is worth noting that, despite all the election-season hyperbole, not all high-tech hiring is being done in Bangalore and Shanghai.
Intel's Web site lists 61 engineering job openings in Bangalore and 550 in the United States. Rival AMD has an impressive 130 engineering jobs in Austin alone posted on its Web site.
Freescale Semiconductor executives are busy trying to find wireless engineers, even as new CEO Michel Mayer continues to trim the nontechnical work force.
Up in Dallas, Nokia and Samsung are staffing up their wireless R&D centers. Texas Instruments will have hired pretty close to as many people this year as in the boom year of 2000. Many of those jobs are in TI's high-performance analog sector, where qualified engineers are hard to find no matter on which continent you look. TI will increase its campus hiring in 2005 and boost its co-op program as well.
National Instruments hires about 85 percent of its new employees fresh out of college, said Mark Finger, human resources manager. NI is on track to hire 100 to 150 people in Austin this year, increasing employment here to 2,100 out of 3,400 worldwide.
"Students who would have been very happy to get one or two offers last year now are getting three or four," Finger said, adding that the packages remain less exuberant than in the boom period of three or four years ago.
No doubt about it, we live in an international economy. The managers at Austin companies such as Cirrus Logic, Silicon Laboratories and SigmaTel seem to spend as much time in China and Taiwan as they do at home, and for good reason. In the cost-sensitive systems markets that now dominate the electronics industry-such as notebooks, cell phones, MP3 players or DVD recorders-it is Asian manufacturers that increasingly dictate what silicon and supporting firmware will win out.
David Lammers covers SoC process equipment. Contact him at email@example.com.