Human Capital & Careers

Silicon Valley Sees Uptick in Jobs

One observer cautions, however, that ''we are creating these higher-end jobs, but of necessity there are fewer of them.''
Stephen TaubJanuary 16, 2006

For the first year since 2001, Silicon Valley has added more jobs than it lost, according to a new report.

The annual survey, published by the nonprofit organization Joint Venture Silicon Valley, concluded after the second quarter of 2005. Joint Venture found that the region added 2,000 jobs over the 12-month period — rather a puny figure against a total for the Valley of 1.15 million. But given the collapse of the tech-telecom-Internet bubble and the acceleration of offshore outsourcing, 2,000 additional jobs qualifies as good news.

“Finally, there’s an uptick,” said Russell Hancock, president and chief executive of the organization, according to The New York Times. “All the signs are that this will hold up.”

During the height of the late ’90s boom, Silicon Valley gained 350,000 jobs, according to the Times, but it lost 200,000 of them during the following few years.

Acknowledged Hancock: “We’re a region that’s always been tied to boom-bust cycles. We’ve reinvented ourselves five or six times.”

Doug Henton, the principal author of the report, noted that most of the 200,000 jobs that disappeared were routing software or engineering jobs or in manufacturing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. These can be performed less expensively elsewhere, he added. The Times also noted that earlier job growth was heavily driven by business technology sales.

Jobs remain strong in software and biotechnology, Henton reportedly observed, as well as in “creative and innovation services.” Joint Venture described this category as the companies that “help other companies get started,” reported the Chronicle; it includes professionals such as accountants, designers, and marketers.

San Mateo County Manager John Maltbie, a member of the Joint Venture board since 1989, said that “we are creating these higher-end jobs, but of necessity there are fewer of them,” according to the Chronicle. “I liken it to climbing a pyramid. There are fewer and fewer opportunities the closer you get to the top.”