Hiring is always a tricky problem. It requires a balance between anticipated business potential and the company's performance.
If I double my staff, can I get this done in half the time? How much more revenue can I make to offset the ongoing cost of human capital. (This doesn't even address the question of how fast can I ramp the new-hires to be productive)
For Apple’s successful iPad and iPhone business: So they massively hire here? What do these people do to increase business for Apple so to cover the salary expense? And after iPad and iPhone's business subsides, how does Apple pay for all these people? (Layoffs?)
My simplistic view on things: there is a natural rate of employment driven by human demand; demand is a function of society's consumption rate. With the start of consumption, hiring is blurred by companies scrutinizing for best fit for the business. Hiring is metered, not feverish, or aggressive because of the early recovery stage. Consumption may flatten, or even reduce - and no business wants to have to layoffs again.
The pain felt in the US comes from the metered hiring, and the locality of the hiring. The mature, experienced US skilled labor market is costly vv. world pool. I'd venture to say that there hasn't been a big demand for this category of skill set, yet. Probably because companies retained their effective skilled-labor headcount, and are leveraging them during this early recovery stage. Companies are hiring into the worker-positions - and I believe that that pool of people today has a higher average education level. This scenario poses a potential threat for the mature unemployed skilled labor force. When consumption resumes to the point where companies need more experienced skilled-labor, will these younger workers be in natural position to occupy those new spots, or will companies be going to the unemployed pool? This is serious a race, and I fear it will be the former.
This recession is the result of both parties politicizing portions of the economy, i.e. health care, banking, and the auto industry. When major industries are plucked (like a goose) for the benefit of a particular political agenda then chaos is the result. As an example, banks were forced to provide loans to unqualified buyers, thus sparking the explosion of toxic assets which then resulted in the meltdown of financial markets. This is the result of unbridled social engineering in the cause of the greater good.
With political clout now the coin of the realm, is it any wonder that companies are hoarding cash? The future is far too uncertain for any planning.
The only positive light that I see is that currently American (and Canadian) engineers are still far more capable than the engineers of other eastern countries. That however will not last too long as both the Indians and the Chinese are learning fast and we had better get our economic house in order if we want to survive.
If we truly had independent Boards of Directors, we would be sending management jobs overseas as well with that approach. When comparisons are done, Engineering salaries are a drop in the bucket compared to VP and above Salaries for US managers versus overseas managers.But with the trade agreements in place, Engineering labor is the bargaining chip on wages. Just as the other labor wages. There are studies that have shown that many times the "savings" developed by hiring Engineering talent overseas is taken up in the performance bonus and stock options issued as a result of the "cost savings". The other aspect is the cultuaral values we put on manufacturers here, such as workers compensation, etc, that add to the cost for talent here. A company does not have that cost in an overseas venture. So as a society we have to ask what is important.
Point blank bottom line is companies ARE hiring, just not in the USA. Anything that requires engineering can now and has been for the last 7 years been designed, validated, produced and supported in China. High tech jobs are NOT coming back to the USA. It is time to look for another career choice.
It has been said by others here that the issue is not that companies are not hiring, it is a question of where they are hiring -- mostly in India and China and not so much in the U.S., Europe or Japan.
But the reasons are not as simple as offshoring for cost cutting. Companies need employees in the markets where they do business, and they grow their headcount more in the markets where business growth is highest.
But at the same time, companies also have intellectual property and internal expertise -- and those things are more than just patents issued or CAD files on the corporate engineering network. Some of that IP and that know-how is embodied in the engineers who created it or enhanced it for the latest incarnation, or embedded it with other IP in that latest SoC. Many of those engineers are the 'old guard' in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Israel, etc.
If they have no younger engineers to mentor, no new generation to whom they can transfer that specialized company expertise, then that expertise will disappear when those old guard engineers retire. I don't know how one puts a price tag on that, but my feeling is it's going to be very costly for some companies.
All I know is all us 10 engineers here are talking more and more about starting our own company.
We are tired of the English Lit majors with MBAs taking all the money and can't do nothing but 'schedule a meeting'.
Work all sorts of FREE overtime and get NOTHING.
So, good luck with your cash Mr. Multi-national.
Hope your new 'talented' Asian workers can handle it for you.
Around here, the daily mantra is "cut costs." It makes managers look good and it seems to make shareholders happy also. The difficulty of course is that once you have cut costs and staff, management wants to increase productivity by adding new projects and sharing engineering talent with other departments, but with no added staff. Somehow we always pull it off - we are engineers - but at great personal cost. Once management understands they can get away with repeated knee-jerk requests, that process becomes routine. It dawns on them that we are doing more work with fewer staff, so we must not have needed all those engineers in the first place. An added insult is that engineers often are forced to take on menial jobs well outside their disciplines, such as changing burnt-out light bulbs, doing plumbing repairs and taking out the recycling because the Building Super has been laid off!
As it has been written here, it is a catch-22. But eventually cutting costs has its death knell in that there is no more to cut, no more to produce, no more clients to support. What increases then is the nation's unemployment. One solution may be to stop the random cost-and-staff cuts and remind managers what it really takes in staff to develop and roll out a new product or service. Make them aware that if they want to add to the workload, it will require resources that are simply not available. That approach has worked for us on a limited basis, but sometimes I have to confess, some managers do not want to be confused with facts - their minds are made up.
During the 2000-2001 downturn tech companies discovered that if you lay off half your employees and work the rest twice as hard your margins improve. Now we're all used to being overworked, so who notices? Also companies are concerned about the economy and thus hoarding their cash, which is hard to fault.
I just heard a caller on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" express frustration about U.S. companies with lots of cash not hiring. The caller said her response is to horde her own cash, and not buy products from companies she suspects are buying back their stock rather than investing in American innovation. That's one strategy, I guess.