As much of the high-technology industry is enjoying a renewed boom, the competition for top recruits in engineering and other fields has become as intense as ever.
Companies, ranging from Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, apart from Google and Yahoo to the myriad of start-up companies across Silicon Valley pumped up with venture capital frequently find themselves going after the same candidates or recruiting in one another’s backyards.
To lure talent, these companies have expanded their recruiting arsenal far beyond the traditional job fair to include a growing number of events like technology lectures, cocktail parties, pizza parties, treasure hunts and programming contests, dubbed “code jams” or “hack days.” These are no-pressure recruiting occasions meant to create excitement around their companies and impress potential recruits as young as college freshmen.
The rapid expansion of these companies is also acting as a catalyst to the growing phenomenon of Silicon Valley’s ‘talent wars’.Microsoft Corp., for example, plans to expand its Fargo, North Dakota, facility to add space for 575 workers. The Redmond, Washington-based company hired more than 10,000 workers in 2006 and 5,000 this year. Microsoft is also in the middle of a $1 billion expansion to its headquarters to add space for an additional 12,000 employees.
As reported earlier by a leading Chinese daily, Microsoft also plans to add 1,200 staff for research and development in mainland China in 2007 at an estimated cost of $60 million.
To this effect the company has also bought land to set up corporate campuses in Beijing and Shanghai, Zhang Yaqin, Microsoft’s head of mainland research and development operations.
Microsoft, which has about 3,000 employees on the mainland, last year invested about $150 million “in just people costs” in China and will “add probably 40% in people” this year.
Much of the new spending will be on Microsoft’s mobility software, including Web services, digital entertainment and media applications for mobile telephones, the article said.
With the land purchases in Beijing and Shanghai, Microsoft will have the capacity for 8,000 people in 2-3 years time.