California has killed the goose that laid the golden egg! It started decades ago when the liberal legislature began giving welfare and health care to all comers - legal and illegal. Soon freeloaders began to flood the state. Faced with the inability to pay for all of the social services the outsiders and the lazy were demanding the legislature began increasing taxes on the productive businesses and workers. That was followed by businesses and jobs leaving the state, often for foreign countries. Faced with further declining revenue, the legislature kept raising taxes and more jobs and businesses left. Investment in new business ventures declined, along with State and Federal (at the urging of CA's US Reps. and Senators) protection for high tech companies, jobs and the products they produced. Is anyone really surprised that Silicon Valley is losing its mojo? The nation is not far behind!
Is silicon valley DEAD? -Yes and no. Has bean-counter VC's crippled it-Yes. Has Wall St. greed destoryed the land of Tech as the seed bed of new discovery-they tried(really tried), but NO! The Spirit/Magic/Mojo of SV is ALIVE. With two black eyes and a couple broken teeth, but alive. The old Silicon Valley(the 60's-2001) is dead, we need to transform and retrench. Rethink our mission and goals. Build on our strenghts(access to domestic markets, educational institutions, pioneer spirit(no kidding), agriculture, and largest, most powerful armed forces in the world). AND OPEN OUR EYES to our faults and lose our fear of the unknown. It's time we check out the rest of the world and see what's working and adapt it to the USA. Let's find the companies that are succeeding and adopt their business models. To mis-quote a great book," someone moved my cheese, let's have hamburger tonight."
I, like others have personallly witnessed whole teams see their jobs go offshore, with NO transitioin, so those folks that have not been laid off, have to somehow make it work with the new team as part of their 12 hour work day. And the jobs that are becoming available here, have some amazing requirements: a lot of MBAs/PhDs,certifications, significant leadership traits, etc. And as you continue to read the requirements/responsbilities - you could swear its for 2 people rather than 1 AND for much less $$$. And the real killer is that a lot of these new jobs have been posted for 2-3 months, with obviously no one being hired. Understand that companies want to hire the "best", but don't they want someone to do the work now? To add insult to injury, there are no traditional back-up jobs for laid-off High Techs.
Every day, those that have jobs,live in fear and those that are desparately looking, often fall into depression.
Its hard to imagine what Silicon Valley, California and the US are going to look like, if we recover.
Engineering is just the latest US industry that has been hammered by competition. It's a repeat of what's happened to the automotive and steel industries, which were US-dominated until the early 80's. Aviation and healthcare are next. The only growth areas for US employment are service-sector jobs, which dont even pay a living wage. The golden age of unlimited tech-job opportunities in the US is gone forever.
Best to deal with it constructively (downsize your house, cars, vacations, lifestyle, etc) than trying to find a source to blame (there are many) because there's no easy fix.
Salaries have pretty much been flat for the last 5- 7 years and when I see the City of San Jose Workers that did not attend Graduate school make huge salaries, you know that something is fundamentally wrong; Most Companies are staffing Engineering positions in the Indian chinese and Malaysian belt;
and then I run into some bright EECS graduates from UC Berkeley or a PHD in EE from UC SB struggling to get interviews. Also it appears 40 is the new 50 especially in Technology.
Many of us fled the housing inflation at the beginning of the 21st century. I don't see how ambitious young talent can get their foot in the door in Silicon Valley. California gray haired refugee to Texas.
The semiconductor industry ran into the Borg and got clobbered. By my count 14 fabs closed in the US since 2007, with 2 starting back up (Intel's fab 11, and Fairchild's Mountain Top fab in PA), and TI buying the Qimonda equipment from Richmond and putting the tools into their fab. A huge net loss of jobs.
Sadly, the situation isn't sanguine and won't be for years, if ever again. The most irritating thing is that the hiring that is going on is going to recent college grads rather than the experienced people. Those with grey hair have been sent to the glue factory.
Silicon Valley already has lost its mojo at least in Semiconductor, Communications, and consumer electronics segments.
During a Boom times 1998-1999 Silicon Valley was home to no less than 1200 companies directly doing high tech business with lasrgest percantage in Semiconductor sector.
Less than 400 high tech companies are operating in Silicon Valley today. Even companies that have headquarters in Bay Area have moved overseas huge chunks of their operations, manufacturing and even R&D, and some have gone to such extent that they only have managment, marketing and administration left in the Valley and everithing else is overseas.
Simple fact is that Silicon Valley despite its great productivity has priced its self out of the market with engineering costs around $45/hr vs. $15/hr in India, or $5/hr in China. Outsourcing has been an initial vehicle to later on move entire segments of high tech industry overseas such as PC and consumer electronic. PC companies such as HP and Dell are really only a marketing houses for dozen or so PC and laptop manufacturers located in Taiwan, China, and elswere in Asia. Similar situation is with electronic consumer products such as GPS, cell phones, video games etc.
The only reason why Silicon Valley is not Death Valley has to do with software development being done either for communications, ethernet, consumer electronics, CAD/EDA, industrial and defense, however that is also moving to lower cost countries such as India, or Eastern Europe.
All high tech manufacturing that was a pilar for past growth is gone from the Valley.
Many say "Silicon Valley is resilient and creative, new technology and new industry will come around to start better times again", and to that I would desagree for a simple fact that to start any new endeavor you need enourmos resources to build necessry infrastructure and to develop necessary human resources for it.