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美國科技行業失業率創歷史新低

Bernhard Warner 2019年06月17日

失業率過低并非好事,科技從業者短缺正在影響行業增長。

美國科技就業市場上一次如此紅火還是在2000年1月。當時Pets.com拿出120萬美元在超級碗上打廣告(圣路易斯公羊隊獲得了冠軍),投資者不斷抬高B2B電子商務公司的股價(還記得Commerce One嗎?),美國在線斥資1650億美元收購時代華納更是讓世界感到震驚。

這次會出什么岔子呢?可能是人才問題造成增長放緩。

美國計算機行業協會(CompTIA)就此撰寫了研究報告。該機構的研究和市場情報執行副總裁蒂姆·赫伯特說:“現在一個非常實際的問題是科技從業者短缺正在影響行業增長。打算向物聯網、機器人加工自動化或者人工智能等新領域進軍的公司可能面臨的障礙是掌握這些先進技術的勞動者不足,科技基礎設施和網絡安全等輔助性領域的人員匱乏就更不用說了。”

據CompTIA介紹,今年5月,美國科技行業的失業率為1.3%,突破了此前的歷史低點,比如2018年3月和2007年4月,也就是全球金融危機對市場造成巨大破壞的前一年。前兩個時間點的失業率均為1.4%。

軟件和應用開發商成為美國IT領域就業增長的主力軍,5月的就業人數超過13.3萬(大家可以比較一下,5月的美國就業人數共凈增7.5萬人,由此可見科技行業對美國經濟來說有多么重要)。

相關指標表明IT就業市場將繼續以破紀錄的速度增長。上周三上午,求職網站Glassdoor上共有8007個數據分析師職位有待填補。而在領英上,用人單位打算在美國招聘的軟件工程師接近22萬名。

很長一段時間以來,經濟學家一直對空缺職位的逐月穩步增長感到擔心,因為這表明勞動技能缺口已經大到了影響經濟增長的程度。美國勞工部在上周稱,空缺職位數量比美國失業人數多163萬,這也是2000年以來的最高紀錄。華爾街投行Jefferies的美國首席金融經濟學家沃德·麥卡錫在研究報告中指出:“就業增長面臨的最大威脅來自于可用供給,而非勞動力需求。”

科技行業對人才爭奪戰的感受最為深切。在上周一的《財富》雜志CEO Initiative大會上,IBM的首席執行官羅睿蘭說這正在變成一個全球性的重大問題。她表示:“我相信我們以及其他國家出現如此多分歧的原因都能歸結為技能問題。”

分析師認為,短期內,空前緊張的就業市場不僅會推高最近畢業的計算機專業學生的工資,還會引發更多科技公司并購。正如他們所說,在硅谷,如果造不出來,就買過來(或者,具體到本文,就收購過來)。上周二,Saleforce向數據分析公司Tableau提出157億美元的收購報價,這是Saleforce歷史上出價最高的并購。兩周前,谷歌收購了另一家大數據分析公司Looker,交易價格為26億美元。

撰稿人尼克·科拉柯夫斯基在熱門IT就業論壇Dice.com上寫道:“所有這些并購都可能對專業涉及終端用戶分析的科技從業人員產生巨大影響。比如說,收購方需要找人來運用這些基于云的新工具,而數據分析和商業智能專家可能會發現自己成了它們的目標。”

領英在它的2019年6月勞動人口報告中指出,招聘趨勢還可能影響美國勞動者的遷移模式。在領英追蹤的城市中,堪薩斯州威奇塔市流失的勞動力最多。領英稱:“在過去12個月中,每一萬名當地領英會員中有250人離開了威奇塔市。”情況截然相反的則是科技圣地奧斯汀市,它是一年來最有吸引力的地方。在每一萬名當地領英會員中,剛到這座城市的有110人。(財富中文網)

譯者:Charlie

審校:夏林

The last time the labor market for U.S. tech workers ran this hot was January, 2000 – the same month Pets.com splashed out $1.2 million on a Super Bowl ad (the Saint Louis Rams went on to win the game), investors were driving up shares of B2B e-commerce companies (remember Commerce One?), and America Online had just shocked the world with its $165 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

What could go wrong this time around? Try a talent-driven slowdown.

“There is now the very real prospect of tech worker shortages affecting industry growth,” says Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, the tech trade group that authored the study. “Firms seeking to expand into new areas such as the Internet of Things, robotic process automation or artificial intelligence may be inhibited by a lack of workers with these advanced skills, not to mention shortages in the complementary areas of technology infrastructure and cybersecurity.”

According to CompTIA, the unemployment rate for America’s technology workers hit 1.3 percent in May. It’s come close to touching these lows before, most recently in March, 2018 and again in April 2007, a year before the global financial crisis wreaked havoc on markets. At those moments, the rate reached 1.4 percent.

Software and applications developers paced the field of new U.S. IT hires, which topped 133,000 in May. (To put that into perspective, employers added a net total of 75,000 jobs last month, an indication of just how vital the tech sector has become to the country’s economic fortunes.)

Indicators point to an IT jobs market that will continue to grow at a record-setting pace. Last Wednesday morning, Glassdoor had 8,007 open data analyst jobs listed on its site. On LinkedIn, meanwhile, employers were seeking to fill nearly 220,000 software engineer positions in the U.S.

Economists have long been fretting over the steady month-by-month increase in open job positions, a sign the skills gap is worsening to a point that imperils growth. The U.S. Labor Department last week said vacancies exceeded the ranks of unemployed Americans by 1.63 million, the highest number since—yep—2000. “The biggest threat to job growth is available supply, not demand for labor,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial U.S. economist at Jefferies, said in a note.

Nowhere can the war on talent be felt more acutely than in the tech sector. On last Monday at Fortune’s CEO Initiative, IBM CEO Virginia Rometty said the issue is becoming a matter of international importance. “I believe so much of the division in our country and other countries roots down to this skills issue,” Rometty said.

In the short term, the historically tight labor market will not just drive up salaries for recent computer science grads, but also fuel further M&A activity in tech, analysts note. As they say in Silicon Valley, If you can’t build it, buy it. (Or, in this case, acquire it.) Last Tuesday, Salesforce bid $15.7 billion for data analytics company Tableau, the most expensive deal it’s ever undertaken. Two weeks ago, Google bought Looker, another big-data analytics company, for $2.6 billion.

“All that M&A action could end up having a huge impact on tech professionals who specialize in anything related to end-user analytics,” Nick Kolakowski writes on the popular IT jobs board, Dice.com. “Data analysts and B.I. [business intelligence] specialists, for example, could find themselves targeted by companies that have acquired these new cloud-based tools and need someone to operate them.”

Job opening trends also impact U.S. worker migration patterns, LinkedIn points out in its June 2019 workforce report. Wichita, Kan., lost the most amount of people for cities it tracks. “For every 10,000 LinkedIn members in Wichita, KS, 250 left in the past 12 months,” the company notes. On the other end of the spectrum is the tech mecca, Austin, which appears to be the most attractive city over the past year. Austin recorded 110 new arrivals for every 10,000 LinkedIn members.

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