SAN JOSE, Calif. – A generally upbeat job outlook among top executives in Silicon Valley dimmed somewhat this year, according to a new report. The survey did not explain the slight decline in optimism, but it’s not surprising given the sluggish pace of macro-economic recovery since 2008.
Forty-six percent of the executives surveyed in the 10th annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) poll said they expect to add jobs in 2013, and 50 percent added jobs in 2012. That’s down from 55 percent who said they would add jobs in 2012 and 60 percent who said they added jobs in 2011.
In the past year 15 percent of those survey said they have reduced their workforce, significantly up from less than ten percent in 2011 but down from more than 20 percent in 2010. The good news is only 10 percent expect to reduce jobs in 2013. In 2012, 14 percent expected to reduce jobs.
"There are still underlying concerns that the economic challenges in parts of Europe and the slowdown in China could cause [Silicon Valley’s growth] engine to sputter,” said Carl Guardino, chief executive of SVLG, speaking in a press release.
In related questions, 16 percent of executives said they shipped jobs outside California in 2012, 46 percent citing the high cost of labor as the top reason. Ten percent said they sent jobs outside the U.S. last year, 61 percent citing labor costs as the top issue.
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After easing off a bit, concerns about housing costs are back on the rise.
The survey also described a laundry list of evergreen social and political concerns of the 177 Silicon Valley executives. For example, they praised the access to talent and capital the Valley offers, but complained about high housing costs and taxes.
The group said its top policy issues include:
- Comprehensive tax reform
- H1-B visa/green card reform
- Reducing the federal deficit
- STEM education
- Expanding and making permanent the R&D tax credit
The report is now online. A sampler of its findings is included on the following pages.
Silicon Valley Nation: The end of Silicon Valley?
Rebuilding America: Silicon Valley is back