Main image of article Silicon Alley Powering New York City Job Market

What's New This Quarter

How many tech jobs have been created in New York in the past decade? According to a report from HR&A Advisors, roughly 300,000 employees either work at tech firms, or else perform a tech-related role at a non-tech firm—eclipsing the tech presence in San Francisco. New York’s tech sector is almost as large as the city’s other traditional sectors of healthcare, legal, finance, and retail. That hasn’t stopped the finance sector from chipping away at its IT workforce, most recently with JPMorgan Chase’s announcement that it would cut hundreds of technology support employees in its corporate and investment bank. JPMorgan laid off about 6,000 employees in the first half of the year, leaving it with 245,000 workers at the end of June. Click here to find a tech job in New York City. But not to worry, said Kainne Hansbury, a consultant for technology search at recruitment firm WinterWyman: “New York has rich offerings beyond the financial services industry. A variety of companies are using technology to engage consumers. It’s all here, and they all need tech pros.” Companies are seeking candidates with strong core computer science fundamentals, he added, “and they are willing to invest in training if they feel the candidate is right for their team.” Some companies on the search for employees with strong computer-science fundamentals may start testing applicants in a new way: video games. According to AlleyWatch, at least six major banking firms plan to use online video games with mechanics grounded in neuroscience to match candidates with jobs. Pymetrics, a New York startup, helps companies assess up to 50 people using simple neuroscience games that test things such as a person’s attentiveness and impulsiveness. Pymetrics compares the candidates’ profiles to company profiles to determine which firm would best fit the candidate.

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Google, which is also famous for its intense recruiting process, will invite more New Yorkers to take its tests now that it’s moving into the enormous chunk of Manhattan real estate it purchased four years ago. Amazon is also spreading out in New York, trying to land a deal for 286,000 square feet on ten floors in a Midtown building. One area in which New York’s tech community can do better is executive gender equality. According to Crain’s New York Business, a recent survey of 1,200 tech executives by Silicon Valley Bank revealed that only 38 percent of New York tech companies feature at least one woman in either a boardroom or C-suite executive position. That’s the lowest of all regions in the survey, behind such locals as Silicon Valley (44 percent) and Boston (48 percent). Here’s a special hint for anyone trying to break into New York’s tech biz from square one. The city’s Tech Talent Pipeline program, which tries to inspire unemployed or low-earning New Yorkers to enter tech fields, is partnering with The Flatiron School, a private vocational college, to offer free 12-week fellowships in Web development and programming, enough training to provide a running start and access to jobs that may pay up to $75,000. SAP is trying to help out as well. In September, the company announced the opening of the Business Technology Early College High School, a new school in Queens that enables students to earn a high school diploma, an associate degree in business systems or engineering technology, and gain relevant work experience—all at no cost to the family. It’s yet another response to the increasing demand for STEM talent.

Skills in Demand

“Opportunities for tech professionals in New York continue to rise as we head into the final quarter of the year,” said Ryan Shaughnessy, branch manager of consulting services at IT recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. “As unemployment in the IT industry remains extremely low, it’s creating a number of opportunities for qualified professionals while increasing competition among companies to land top talent.” Currently, he added, the most in-demand positions are front-end developers (specifically those with PHP, Node.js, Angular.js and Backbone.js), Java developers, network engineers, and desktop support technicians. A recent Robert Half survey also found that network administration is among the skill sets in greatest demand. “We’ve seen an increase in the project manager and business analyst roles,” said Adam Bilinski, managing director of Randstad Technologies. “Most large companies have moved some development and infrastructure support out of high-cost cities like New York for a while, but the market for good quality project managers and business analysts with industry-specific knowledge is stronger than ever.” Bilinksi also noted that the contract, contract-to-hire, and solution business is strong across multiple industries, especially in the financial services sector: “Permanent placement needs typically slow down toward the end of the year and we’re seeing more clients shift to contracts, especially contract-to-hire options.”

According to IT recruiting firm Mondo’s 2014-2015 Salary Guide, the top three skills currently in demand in New York are application and software development, e-commerce, and database administration.

Salary Trends

According to the most recent Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a New York-based IT professional is $93,915, up 4.7 percent from the previous year and 6.9 percent above the national average of $87,811. TechAmerica’s Cyberstates 2013 found that New York State’s tech workers earned an annual average wage of $96,900 (ranked 8th among all states), 54 percent more than the state’s average private sector wage. Robert Half Technology reports that 14 percent of New York-area technology experts plan to expand their IT teams in the second half of the year, down from 17 percent in the last half. In addition, 71 percent plan to hire only for open IT roles. In the same survey, 82 percent of New York CIOs were optimistic about their companies’ prospects for growth in the second half, and 67 percent currently feel confident in their firms’ investment in IT projects. According to Mondo, Data Scientists, Oracle, Hadoop, and Neteezza developers, AWS consultants, and MySQL developers are currently seeing the largest salary jumps.

Leading Industries

  • Financial Services
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Insurance
  • Retail
  • Telecom (specifically in New Jersey)

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