Saturday, February 16, 2008

Talent Production and Job Creation

The answer is Pittsburgh. For thriving cities such as Austin, there is an annual shortage of tech workers. Local investments in human capital will only stretch so far, driving the national (and international) search for more talent:

And, if after all this talk about using labor market information to identify workforce availability in your region still doesn't produce the software developers you need, sign up for career fairs in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. They led the U.S. in graduates prepared for software development jobs in 2006.

The irony of the Pittsburgh labor market is that the excess capacity of tech talent has yet to result in dramatic increases in job creation. What if Carnegie Mellon University refused to host a career fair? Of course, such a policy would be absurd.

Places, such as Austin, where there are shortages of software developers can and will offer a higher salary than places, such as Pittsburgh, where there is a glut of tech graduates. Richard Florida is wrong. People aren't leaving Pittsburgh because the city isn't cool. Young adults are moving to Austin because of the demand for their skills.

Career fairs are marketplaces for cities starved for talent. The tension isn't between Austin and Pittsburgh. Austin is struggling with Silicon Valley and Seattle. I don't expect the Front Range of Colorado to absorb all the international relations graduates from the University of Denver any time soon. There are only so many positions open in New Jersey for urban planners with degrees from Rutgers. And not all meteorology majors at Penn State can expect to work at AccuWeather.

Need talent?

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