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Utah’s technology companies are doing well, but still have trouble finding enough qualified people to hire, according to a group of industry leaders at Utah Business magazine’s technology roundtable Thursday morning.
Finding people who are the right fit for technical jobs is not always easy. All of the companies that attended the roundtable have job openings, but are looking for specialized employees who are hard to recruit from out of state or are competing with other companies for the best and brightest.
EMC Vice President Vance Checketts said, “If I could find this profile I’d hire 250 of them tomorrow, and that would be a very passionate technologist—but somebody who doesn’t want to sit in front of a computer necessarily to program, but wants to talk to people; is fluent in a second language, preferably Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French or German; and is a U.S. citizen that can hold a high-level security clearance.”
Many tech companies are competing for employees, but that’s actually a good thing, said Tim Sullivan, Ancestry.com CEO. With a healthy technology community, employees are more willing to move to a certain area, knowing that if something doesn’t work out they can find another job.
That is a problem with highly specialized positions, said Alex Lindell, senior director for product management at Lineagen. The company is currently trying to recruit a high-level clinical geneticist and he said it’s been very difficult in an industry that isn’t as prevalent in the state.
Utah is often promoted as the place with the arches or good skiing, said Jeremy Hanks, CEO and cofounder of DropShip.com. And while the “Life Elevated” campaign has been successful for tourism, Hanks said the business environment isn’t as widely known.
“Where’s the ‘Work Elevated’ campaign that says, ‘Don’t worry, the fourth-largest Goldman Sachs office globally is in Salt Lake City, Utah,’” said Hanks. “And that message I think doesn’t get out as much as it could.”
The participants agreed the way to continue Utah’s technological growth is through innovative education.
The Technology Roundtable will appear in the July issue of Utah Business.