Daily Archives: August 2, 2009

Silicon Valley Unemployed Give Up on IT

The Wall Street Journal ran a grim but informative article a few days ago regarding the soaring unemployment affecting information-technology workers in Silicon Valley.

As the WSJ’s Pui-Wing Tam wrote, with Silicon Valley’s unemployment rate spiking above the national and state averages, jobless workers are giving up on the region’s dominant information-technology industry and trying to switch to other fields.

If these workers cannot find jobs in IT – and many of them can’t – they consider transferring their skills to industries that involve technology, and hence are somewhat familiar, such as cleantech and medical technologies.

Some, though, are leaving technology altogether, going low-tech either because the growing incidence of offshoring is dimming career prospects or because they’ve burned out in IT. These people have taken up jobs as circus jugglers, carnival barkers, rodeo clowns, organic farmers, and old-time evangelists. (Editor: Okay, that last sentence was just gallows humor. Please disregard.)

Regarding offshoring, we have heard that even some of the Valley’s most successful companies, such as Cisco Systems, are moving jobs to China and India.

A question worth pondering is whether industries such as cleanech can grow fast enough to compensate for a continuing decrease in information-technology employment. If not, the unemployment rate in Silicon Valley might continue to rise.