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Austin works to recruit tech talent

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Austin is one of the bright spots in the national employment picture. While US unemployment ticked up to 8.2% last month and the economy created just 69,000 jobs, Austin’s unemployment rate is just 5.9% and the local area economy is expected to create 19,000 new jobs this year and 20,000 next year.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce tells RCR that roughly a third of the area’s job openings are in technical fields, and that 85% of them require previous experience. Semiconductors, software and telecommunications are all growth areas. “We have the complete sector of mobile from inside all the way to the outside,” says Drew Scheberle, SVP of education and talent development for the Austin Chamber. Scheberle says the big challenge is finding qualified individuals, and that Austin cannot fill all its job openings with local talent.

AustinTechSource is a cloud-based service the city has created to put Austin job openings in front of engineers and developers from around the country. Employers can post job openings and the city works to market the service to job seekers in key markets.

Ryan Hand is the recruitment marketing manager
for Austin’s Bazaarvoice, a 7-year-old company that employs more than 600 people worldwide. Most job openings are in Austin, and Hand says he is always competing for technical talent. He’s excited about AustinTechSource and the possibility that it will help him lure candidates from the key cities he targets when looking for candidates: New York, San Francisco,
Chicago, Seattle and Toronto. “It’s awesome to see that they are going to other places and getting people to look at Austin jobs,” says Hand.

The city says AustinTechSource is more than a job board because it will incorporate key elements that are part of any job search: training requirements, references, and relocation. “Through our new matching technique, not only can we expose match criteria but we can also provide any training gaps. Then we present training options along with the cost of the course,” says Bryan Jones, chair of the Austin Tech Partnership, and CEO of Collider Media. Jones says the service will also connect to LinkedIn so that candidates can find people they may know within a company, and employers can look for references. Finally, AustinTechSource plans to partner with realtors and banks to assist candidates with relocation to Austin.

AustinTechSource is designed to pay for itself and eventually return money to the city. Although limited use of the service is free for employers, a license fee is required to use all of its features. A quarterly license is $2,500 and an annual license is $5,000. Experience, Inc., the company that built the website, says AustinTechSource is the first service of its kind, and that other cities are watching Austin closely as they consider their own cloud-based recruitment tools.

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Martha DeGrasse is the publisher of Network Builder Reports (nbreports.com). At RCR, Martha authored more than 20 in-depth feature reports and more than 2,400 news articles. She also created the Mobile Minute and the 5 Things to Know Today series. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York and managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Martha is the board president of Austin's Trinity Center and is a member of the Women's Wireless Leadership Forum.