Thursday, February 11, 2010

Geography Of Tech Talent

I hope to get to the Silicon Valley story later this afternoon. Meanwhile, Google helps to define the emerging geography of talent:

When it comes to recruiting and managing talent, [Steven Woods] is like the general manager of a baseball team, scouting and meeting with potential recruits and discussing possible roles they might play in the company. He speaks about a certain former intern who will be joining the company from the University of British Columbia as though he had just found a new all-star shortstop.

He's not just competing with RIM and Microsoft for talent, but also against other Google locations around the world, some in much warmer climates like Silicon Valley. Still, Google saw the value in setting up operations down the street from RIM.

"Google had this great insight, which of course sounds obvious -- but as Canadians we often know it's not obvious -- that people don't all want to move to California,'' Woods says.

Google, much like other technology giants before it, sees the University of Waterloo and the surrounding region as one of its top three recruitment centres for undergraduates, alongside the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

At first, the above reads to me like a residual migration pattern. But Google is minding the rules of Spiky World. Companies are moving where the talent is located. We are also seeing more co-location of firms near major research universities. That means an expanding footprint in Boston, Pittsburgh and Waterloo.

Keep this in mind when I later discuss domestic migration and Silicon Valley. The tech talent labor market is on the verge of getting very tight, which is good news for Waterloo (and Pittsburgh).

1 comment:

Steve said...

But Google is minding the rules of Spiky World.

Is Google really doing that? Based on the locations of their "offices", perhaps, but not if you include all of their data centers. Google's data centers are not just in places like Seattle and Boston but also The Dalles, OR.