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Silicon Alley Hiring on the Rise

After four consecutive quarterly declines, hiring is creeping back up in New York tech.
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Silicon Alley hiring is back in a big way.

According to the New York Internet and Digital Media Jobs Index, conducted by talent search firm Cook Associates, New York City's job market showed a 7.3 percent uptick in the second quarter of 2013, its highest point since the second quarter of 2012.

It may not sound like much, but that percentage means the NY tech scene added approximately 2,200 jobs in the second quarter alone. According to Cook, the businesses surveyed represent more than 90 percent of the Internet and digital media workers in New York.

Comparatively, last quarter’s jobs index showed 4.8 percent in growth. Looking back at 2012, when the New York tech boom was slowing, the study showed four consecutive quarterly declines, starting with 6.2 percent in the first quarter and ending with 3.4 percent growth.

"It appears that the digital media and Internet sectors in both Boston and New York are running on all cylinders right now," said John Barrett, the managing director at Cook who conducted the study.

Cook surveyed only pure-play Internet and digital media companies -- from goliaths like Google to up-and-comers like Rent the Runway -- with 10 or more employees. Nearly all companies were financed with venture capital.

The overwhelming majority of hiring is happening in the digital ad tech and consumer web sectors. Unsurprisingly, Google ranked number one among the ten companies showing the largest headcount gains, adding more than 600 jobs over the past 12 months. Amazon came in second with about 330 jobs. The rest included AppNexus, Facebook, Spotify, eBay, ZocDoc, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and TD Ameritrade.

Barrett attributed the trend to a "perfect storm" of factors: As the Internet disrupts established media, advertising, and financial services companies, a massive influx of venture capital money is fueling their companies' growth.

"Venture capital investing in NYC has been surging for the past three to four years, but now the overall economy is strong enough again to help accelerate the growth of many of those start-ups who've received venture funding," he said.

Not all of this is good news, however, as all these employees can't hack their jobs. 

"New York City is inevitably headed toward a talent gap," explained Barrett, adding that the digital headcount is projected to double in the next four years. "The surge in growth that's been happening the past couple of years in unsustainable unless the city has the right talent to fill these jobs."

Most of the hiring has been for sales and marketing, with the biggest gap being in software engineers. But Barrett said the VC community should invest in tomorrow's tech leaders. "The VC investors perhaps have the most to gain from making sure there's an adequate talent pool to make the most of their investment dollars." 

IMAGE: Shutterstock
Last updated: Aug 7, 2013

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter, Inc.com

Will Yakowicz is a reporter at Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and politics at Patch.com, and his work has been published in Tablet Magazine and The Brooklyn Paper. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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