Looking Back at 2011 and Looking Ahead for the IT/Tech Industry in 2012

December 31st, 2011

Last year, was an incredible adventure for the IT/Tech industry. We saw the introduction of many new forms of technology to mainstream consumers, from cloud computing to tablets. With 2012 just barely in it’s first few weeks, experts are predicting that 2012 will continue to see an explosion of technology that will continue to focus on average consumers and small business. Let’s take a look at 2011, and make a few predictions of our own.

2011 was the year of Social Media. Giants on the scene included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Zynga and many others who have become an international obsession for billions of attention starved, self-promoting consumers and businesses alike. Although Facebook has taken some criticism from users who are tired of the constant changes, possible privacy issues, and issues with the new timeline format, it is predicted to increase membership over the coming year to hit a new record. Look for continued integration with multiple applications that use your Facebook log into to access.

Last year, the mobile technology market also boomed with some 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, that’s 77 percent of the world population, according to a recent survey from MobiThinking as of November 2011. This number is led by China and India, two areas that have typically produced the cheapest mobile devices, including the $35 Akash tablet, which made its way on the scene late in 2011. The International CES 2012 revealed even more mobile awesomeness, which included Toshiba’s “world’s thinnest notebook” and Samsung’s 5” Galaxy Smartphone.

Just like in 2011, consumer gadgets rule the landscape with Vizux Smart Glasses , LG’s 84” HGTV, and Nikon’s impressive D4 DSLR 16.2 MP camera, which has them running for the nearest electronics retailers. According to a recent article in Forbes, consumer electronics purchases increased by 10%, and that’s in the midst of an economic recession faced by the world. “For 2011, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) sees 15% growth in North America, 23% growth in Western Europe, 15% in China, 12% in Asia, 5% in Eastern Europe, 4% in the Middle East, 10% in South America and 7% in Africa.” (Source: Forbes) . Estmated sales are expected to top $1 Trillion in 2012.

What does this mean in terms of careers in It and Technology in 2012? You can expect to see a massive demand for new jobs at all levels in the New Year, from product development to sales. To get on board now with a great IT career, consider signing on with a top IT and Technology recruiting firm like Stark Talent today!

Stark’s Doug Douglas to be featured speaker for HR.com

December 21st, 2011

From Angry Birds to Hog Heaven
HR.com Virtual Conference – January 17, 2012
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Central

Stark’s Doug Douglas will be continuing as a featured speaker and subject matter expert for HR.com’s Virtual Conferences in 2012. On January 17, Doug will be leading “From Angry Birds to Hog Heaven,” a session that looks at how an organization’s recruiting efforts impact corporate branding initiatives. RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) engagements can help organizations focus on streamlining application processes, provide feedback throughout the application/interview process, and other process improvements that give the job seeker a more favorable opinion of the hiring company. In a fight for the best talent, the biggest and most recognizable company doesn’t always win. You’ll find out how your organization (whether big or small) can win!

Doug has led previous virtual conferences with HR.com – the most recent being “RPO – Without Raising Your Debt Ceiling.” This session focused on the basics of RPO and what benefits an organization might see if going to this type of engagement. This was the #1 rated session for all HR.com Virtual Conferences with the largest number of pre-registrations recorded and superior evaluation marks following the presentation.

Register now for this free virtual conference, and invite other HR leaders to join as well.
HR.com > Virtual Conferences > RPO > From Angry Birds to Hog Heaven

OPEC Boosts 2012 Demand Estimate – Good News for Job Seekers

December 21st, 2011

As the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ups its 2012 estimate for the demand for crude oil worldwide for a second month in a row, this is positive news for the thousands of energy and IT engineers seeking work in the coming year. Supply for crude oil and associated oil and petroleum based products is expected to supply both American and foreign need for more staff to handle the complex processes needed to produce consumer products. However, this may not be great news for some in the manufacturing and transportation sectors – two industries hit hard by the economic recession.

The OPEC forecast was recently the topic of a Bloomberg Report, that stated, “OPEC will need to produce 30.1 million barrels a day to balance global crude supply and demand”, according to the group’s secretariat. “That’s up 100,000 barrels a day from its forecast last month. OPEC cut its global demand forecast for 2012.” OPEC officials further went on to say, “Economic turbulence is shaking oil demand as the slowdown hits manufacturing activities worldwide.” We can only hope that the interest of developing less expensive, more plentiful energy sources leads to more jobs for millions of deserving workers around the globe.

For engineers and IT professionals, the career outlook is positive, in light of President Obama’s recent American Jobs Act speech  that put the focus on creating more jobs by making improvements to the educational system to produce more skilled engineers and IT workers over the coming decade. America has yet to catch up to other developed nations, like China and India, in terms of the number of engineers and IT professionals available, but this initiative will encourage those looking for new career opportunities to consider engineering as a viable option.

We need technology to continue growing if we are to stimulate the economy, so OPEC’s projections confirm that the demand for qualified workers is critical for long term growth and to keep up with industry demands. According to OPEC, “Oil demand will average 88.9 million barrels a day next year, about 100,000 barrels less than its previous forecast, as demand growth in China and India slows, it said. Consumption will average 87.8 million barrels in 2012.” While America struggles to find alternative forms of energy, it’s clear our love affair with gas-powered vehicles and equipment will continue to create jobs in the New Year.

Looking for an engineering, IT or other energy related job for 2012? Consider working with the career experts at Stark Talent for great opportunities!


Happy Holidays from Stark Talent!

December 15th, 2011

At this time of year, the recruiting team at Stark Talent likes to take a moment to look back on the year and take the time to thank all of our valued clients and associates for another fantastic year! In 2011, we placed an amazing number of quality candidates, from energy and defense contractors to IT professionals. As the nation continues to experience a period of recovery, we plan to be there to help support the critical staffing needs of all our valued clients throughout the New Year.

From all of us at Stark Talent to all of you – Happy Holidays!

We’d like to take a moment to provide a few tips for searching for work during the holiday season, for those who may be using this time to launch a new career. As always, Stark Talent is there to provide encouragement and exciting career opportunities for highly skilled candidates.

  • Revamp your resume. Take this time to review your resume for any updates in your career, including any contract assignments or education you have completed. Update the format and grammar of your resume too, with fresh bullets of your accomplishments instead of just dull job duties. Get in touch with your references and update contact information too.
  • Research job openings. Take a moment to assess your skills, as you have likely done some interesting things this year. Take an inventory of your skills and match them to new possible careers in new industries you may not have thought of before. Sort through job openings in local newspapers, online career boards, industry forums and more –then apply now.
  • Create your social network. There’s no time like the present to tap into the wonders of social media networks, like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, where many hiring managers are actually looking for candidates with your skill set. Improve your profiles with professional looking images, your resume and portfolio to have a better chance of being noticed.
  • Get connected with peers. If you have dreamed of starting your new career, one of the best ways to be in the right place at the right time is by joining professional associations and networks. Many industries hold regular local meetings, so you have a good chance of meeting company reps who are looking for quality people like you. The more you are out there in the public, the better chance you have of getting an offer.

Looking for a great career opportunity for 2012? Consider all the advantages of working with Stark Talent as a contract employee. You can connect with the companies who are looking for people like you to fill immediate, temp to perm assignments in the New Year.


Engineering Salary Trends for 2012

December 8th, 2011

When President Obama recently indicated as part of his American Jobs Act speech  that we need to push for more engineers to help recover the US industrial infrastructure, many technical and engineering schools around the nation began positing themselves for the onslaught of new engineering students. Engineering is one of the top paying careers with the average earnings in the US hovering around $91,628, according to most recent figures from Salary.com, a popular industry salary watchdog.

Traditionally, the US is somewhat behind other developed nations in the number of engineers we produce annually, with approximately 70,000 US engineers vs. 400,000 or more coming from China and India alone. According to Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel and an active member of President Obama’s “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness”, who recently stated, “A chronic shortage of engineering students threatens America’s role as the world’s leading innovator and continues to impede our nation’s fragile economic recovery.”

It’s obvious that engineering jobs will continue to be in demand and will be some of the top paying jobs in the USA going into 2012. Here is a review of what’s looking to be some trends in engineering salaries and jobs for the coming year.

A recent CNN report on the “Best Jobs in America 2011”, listed engineering jobs in two of the top ten spots, with salaries of $110-113K and a 24-30% expected job growth in the next ten years. The most popular engineering jobs fall under the civil engineering and environmental engineering categories, not surprising as these are the areas related to the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure. There are, however, debates about the pay rates of engineers vs. public figures like celebrities and politicians who are bringing in hundreds of thousands more annually for very little real skills as evidenced by a recent article on EngineerSalary.com.

The Department of Labor Statistics indicates that the top paying engineering jobs exist in Aerospace, Computer Hardware, Nuclear and Petroleum, with earnings of between $92,500 to $108,000 on average annually. The highest paid engineers are earning nearly $150,000 per year in the energy sector, which is not surprising given the urgent need for more energy resources and development in the USA. Additionally, IT engineers who hold advanced certifications are likely to earn the most, according to a recent industry survey of over 700 professionals in this field.

For new graduates of top engineering programs, such as those found at prestigious universities such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and UC-Berkeley, the odds of finding a well-paying job in any area of engineering are very good. Stanford’s Career Development Department Director, Lance Choy, was quoted in a recent post that engineering student starting salaries for 2009 grads were up to $120,000 per year, with over a 70% placement rate within 4 months of searching. “Choy cited market demand and the recruiting process itself as the main determinants of job-search success.”

Look for great opportunities as we head into 2012 in terms of opportunities in engineering roles across all industries. To increase your odds of landing a high paying engineering job, consider getting signed on with a quality engineering placement agency like Stark Talent today!


Your Age Shouldn’t Matter. How to Make Your Career and Your Resume Age-proof

November 29th, 2011

Under current Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) guidelines, it is illegal to discriminate against job applicants based on age, along with other identifying factors. It’s also illegal to stop giving older employees less opportunities for career growth. However, there are some companies that continually focus on “youthful” employees, finding ways to get around these laws. Oftentimes too, older job seekers believe they cannot find good career opportunities and are not offered jobs based on their age or appearance.

Generally speaking, while you cannot do much about your age, you can do something about the way you present yourself to potential employers so that you do not “date” your skills and abilities. It’s not so much about age, as it is about how you present yourself as a job seeker. Here are some ways to “age proof” your career and your status as an applicant.

Keep Your Skills Up-to-date – The number one factor to maintaining your career for a lifetime, and for presenting yourself in a positive light to recruiters, is keeping your work related skills current. This mean being a lifelong learner, taking in as much information as you can about the work you do, and being able to present your credentials. You don’t have to be in college to get these credentials, but merely being in touch with your industry by participating in continual learning opportunities will keep you knowledgeable and fresh.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle – This goes for everyone, but it is especially true for those who are entering their mature years. Now is the time to start taking better care of your physical and mental well-being. Make friends with a fitness center. Learn to make healthier eating choices and drop the bad habits. Get involved in extra-curricular activities that provide encouragement to improve your mental state. By doing these things, you will not only improve your personal appearance, but you will have an energy that most recruiters will find irresistible and co-workers will marvel at.

Share Relevant Information – One of the biggest mistakes that many people make, when drafting a new resume or when filling out online applications, is sharing all of their career and educational history. Putting a graduation date that’s older than most people’s recollection is generally going to date you right off the bat. It is recommended that you leave off dates longer than 10-15 years, and only include work experiences that are relevant to the specific job. Include achievements and references to further bolster your strength as a candidate.

Get Representation. As a serious career-minded professional, your best ally can be the support of a progressive staffing agent or career coach. This person can look out for new opportunities for you, and advise you on the most favorable ways to present yourself from application to interviews. Ask for guidance with designing a brand new resume that will place you in the best possible light to companies you want to work for. After all, you have the skills they are looking for and there’s no reason to be shy about applying. You are smarter, wiser and a lot more capable of making a great first impression to secure a great career, with the support of a reputable staffing agent.

Find out how Stark Talent can help you get past the age-gap and into a great career today!

Hiring US Citizens vs. Foreign Tech Workers for IT Jobs: Which is Better for You and Your Company…are Your Preferences Legal?

November 22nd, 2011

As the technology world continues to burst with new opportunities, creating millions of career opportunities in the coming years, technology based companies everywhere are scrambling for suitable IT candidates. While the preference of hiring US citizens or foreign tech workers is based on many factors, it is now a matter of legal debate due to an H1-B employment bill in the Senate currently that may seriously change the way companies must approach recruitment and hiring of IT staff. This bill has now been signed into law by President Obama under the Financial Stability Plan.

In fact, several prominent IT firms have come under fire based on allegations that they misrepresent the number of available US candidates in favor of hiring foreign workers – a practice that has long gone on under the radar because foreign workers traditionally don’t command the wages that US Information Technology specialists do. From small development companies to large powerhouses in IT, the use of foreign workers is the preference of many in an effort to keep project costs down and increase profitability.

However, this entire practice can backfire as companies may be inadvertently not offering enough assignments to US workers, who still number in the many thousands. With close to 10% of the US adult workforce currently unemployed, the pressure is on for IT companies to show preference to native candidates, then foreign workers. The H1-B Senate bill makes it illegal to hire more than half your workforce as foreigners if you have more than 50 employees.

Additionally, as an employer you are required to advertise job openings for 30 days on the Department of Labor’s web site before making H-1B visa applications, giving American workers ample time to apply and be considered first. Jobs cannot be advertised strictly for foreign workers – there must be complete equality for all candidates regardless of nationality under EEOC guidelines.

How does your company stack up and do you follow the “rules” when it comes to offering IT assignments in a non-discriminatory way? If you are unsure, then it’s generally a good idea to seek legal counsel from a trusted employment attorney to review your current hiring practices in terms of this new law. Alternatively,  you can stay out of “hot water” by contracting with a quality IT staffing agency like Stark Talent that maintains all the laws as they pertain to hiring technology workers. This can give you peace of mind that you are a fair and legal employer.


What Ex-military Can Bring to Executive Positions and Your Business

November 15th, 2011

While it’s true that being a member of the military can create a positive shift in terms of attitude and pride in ones’ personal life, it’s also common for ex-military people to achieve things far beyond their civilian counterparts in terms of a career. This can lead to greater levels of success at all levels of a career, but most notably in executive careers. Consider Lieutenant General William G. Pagonis, a Gulf War veteran, who from 1993 to 2004 was the executive VP of supply chain management for Sears Roebuck & Company. During that time, Pagonis used his Army experience to turn this company around financially—no easy task since Wal-Mart came on the scene and put a serious dent in the entire wholesale consumer goods market.

Then there’s the inspiring story of retired Army Colonel Rudy Burwell who became the executive VP for Crisis Communications and Litigation PR for the award-winning Hellerman Baretz Communications in September of 2011, a role that utilizes over 20 years of his experience in the military as a communications leader. It’s clear that there are many valid reasons why an ex-military person is the preferred candidate for many executive level civilian assignments.

The skills, values and ethics of military personnel are unparalleled in terms of what’s available with many candidates, so employers generally appreciate these qualities as they pertain to the workforce. Here are some reasons why ex-military candidates are highly prized among recruiters, and what they can bring to your business.

Rules are Meant to be Followed – The key thing you will notice with an ex-military candidate is that he or she understands why there are rules and why it’s important to follow them to the letter in most situations. When seeking an executive level employee, it’s important to choose someone who has a full comprehension of these rules as they come down from above, and that they will be enforced in subordinates in a fair and reasonable manner.

Take Charge and Inspire Others – While it’s true that ex-military can take orders from superiors, they are also prone to lead by example. This “take charge” attitude and the way ex-military candidates handle duties often inspires others to be their best on the job. The military teaches people to become the leaders of their own lives, as well as how to lead others through setting the bar high. This quality is what helps ex-military personnel be great executive team members.

Highly Adaptable Problem Solvers – If there’s one thing that most ex-military personnel have down well is the ability to adapt to the unexpected and roll with things to solve problems efficiently. Military people don’t sit around waiting for others to take the helm. Instead, they step up and ask to be included in problem solving initiatives and in making positive change when the job calls for it.

Handle Stress and Tasks Well – Being an executive leader is highly stressful, and not many people are suited for this aspect of civilian work. However, those who have been in the military, even for a short period of time, have effectively learned how to best manage stress and use it for good. They focus on tasks and prioritize well, meaning they don’t allow things to get out of control before taking action. These qualities are what make ex-military candidates desirable for executive level duties.

Fortunately, there are many excellent executive career options available to ex-military or military vets. The United States government has instituted many incentives and provided special guidance for businesses who would like to hire military veterans and their spouses—in order to encourage employers to tap into this valuable resource.

For more information about hiring ex-military and military veterans for your executive level openings, be sure to contact Stark Talent today.


What Will the New 1099 Consultant Regulations Mean for Your Business?

November 7th, 2011

In 2010, the new 1099 regulations came out for businesses that use contractors to perform work. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was part of Obama’s healthcare reform bill, all organizations are required to file a 1099 form for contractors who sell, use or buy $600 or more in services or products annually. This includes all companies, both private and public, as well as non-profit organizations, and state and local governments who use IT contractors and consultants.

Overall, this law has put a strain on the already tedious accounting processes that must be managed by organizations in order to comply with the 1099 rules. There has been a surge in the use of accounting technology and software to both track and process contractors. But for many companies, the 1099 ruling have deeper implications about how we will do business in general and how to keep up with regulations as they pertain to contract work.

As early as 2010, experts were warning that the 1099 law would put an undue strain on company accounting departments, multiplying the amount of paperwork by five-fold. However, by the end of the year, many companies were already turning to automated systems and outsourced accounting services to handle this need.

Now it would make some assume that this would increase the need for accounting personnel. In many cases, this was true as it had the effect of taking some accounting functions out of the hands of individuals and into the capable hands of national accounting companies – at a substantial cost. However, in other cases, the vast majority of these new accounting burdens were left on the shoulders of small accounting departments who had no choice but to start utilizing an accounting software solution to keep up.

This is especially true when it comes to the small business sector, which is still the single-most largest growth factor in the economy to date. Small business owners had to adjust their accounting procedures in order to comply with the 1099 law, which also forced them to turn to accounting software and outsourced accounting companies for help. It also made many limit their use of contractors, which may have had a larger impact on staffing and contract agencies in the past year.

The good news is that on the eve of tax day 2011, President Obama repealed the 1099 law, after it was discovered how damaging it was to the small business sector. In April of 2011, the law was full repealed, which saved tens of thousands of small business owners and landlords from having to fill out 1099’s. Under the Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011, small businesses and landlords were no longer required to issue 1099’s for purchases made or rental payments made after December 31, 2011.

For all businesses, however, a 1099 form must be completed for anyone who contracts with any service provider in the amount of $600 annually or more. This means any contract service, including employment services, must be issued a 1099 form at the end of the tax year. For more information on how the 1099 law applies to your business and the contractors you work with, including IT contractors, be sure to visit the Internal Revenue Service page here.

Technology Career Opportunities: Top Cities for IT Jobs

October 31st, 2011

Jobs in the technology sector are on the rise, according to the US Department of Labor and Statistics (DOL), which shows that Information Technology is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate and provide the most jobs for all industries during this decade. While there are IT jobs readily available in most regions, there are some hot spots in the nation where there is a higher concentration of opportunities.

CIO Recently released some updates on the IT career market, giving an overview of the top cities for IT jobs. Here’s a run down of the top 7…

New York City – This mecca of new technology is the second highest producer of technology related jobs in the world, with over 315,000 IT jobs with some of the biggest software and financial companies. With IT annual salaries ranging from $62,000 to $91,000 USD, there is a small gap between entry level and more seasoned IT professionals, making it a great place for new grads to start searching for a job.

Washington DC – The nation’s capital has long been a place of innovative thinking, so it should not be surprising that IT jobs abound here. DC has over 290,000 IT jobs with mid to large corporations that work directly with the government, as well as multiple financial and technology companies that grace this temperate region. Salaries range from $55,000 to $92,000 USD annually, and many areas still have a reasonable cost of living.

San Jose, CA – Silicon Valley still boasts some of the top IT jobs in the world, with technology geeks making up a high concentration of the population since the Dot.com era. Look for above average salaries in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, due to tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Apple leading the way in Web 2.0 and consumer technology development.

Boston, MA – Beantown would not be the same without it’s massive IT pool of professionals who are earning between $57,000 to $95,000 annually, with one of the best places to live and raise a family. Red Sox fans will love that they can work and play hard in a variety of jobs in IT, alongside some of the leading professional minds of this century.

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – The lonestar state is home of Ross Perot, former presidential candidate and founder of tech giant EDS. Perot is not the only big thing around Dallas however, as there are some 176,000 tech jobs in the private sector, with salaries ranging from $48,000 to $83,000 USD annually.

Los Angeles, CA – Not far from Silicon Valley is the second largest concentration of IT jobs on the West coast in the “City of Angels”. This area has some 170,000 IT jobs, many of which pay in the $47,000 to $83,000 USD range per year, with plenty of cool places for techies to unwind after a hectic project at the beach or favorite entertainment venues.

Chicago, IL – The “windy city” is the best place in the central United States to find IT jobs, with some 164,000 technology jobs with large financial and software firms making up the most. While the weather can be frightful, the salaries are delightful with a $48,000 to $81,000 USD range per year.

Want to learn about more of the USA’s top IT cities? Read more here then check out the full and part time contract IT opportunities to be found at Stark Talent today!


Photo Credit : Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net