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Hot Tech Jobs To Go! Seattle’s Boom in Techdom Creates a Different Kind of Life & Workstyle

“The level of talent here is insane, as is the demand for that talent. Everybody needs it!”

The quotation above are the words of one Seattleite who covers the employment climate like the rain.

Seattle’s tech surge and the skyrocketing demand for skilled workers is sending ripples through the local employment market, on a seismic scale.

Sara Eide is the regional vice president for technical staffing services for the Robert Half company in Seattle, overseeing technical staffing and creative employment teams that cover most of Western Washington. During her twelve years with the company she has had the opportunity to contrast the workaday worlds of Minneapolis and Madison, WI., before coming back home to the Northwest where she was raised and where the job market has been steadily looking up.

While the tech boom isn’t confined to the Northwest, Sarah considers Seattle to be a “tech mega center” and the changes taking place here are symptomatic of that growth. A new creature has been evolving in the Seattle ecosystem, a different kind of tech employee — the contract professional —a peripatetic candidate who prefers to work for different employers and on different projects while maintaining a greater degree of professional flexibility.

We sat down to discuss the Seattle job market in 2017 and where readers like you fit into it.

Seattle24x7:  Welcome, Sara! Seattle is one of the hottest tech employment markets in the nation. Is there a contract worker resurgence going on here?

Sara Eide:  It’s interesting because only a few years ago, while it wasn’t taboo to be a contract worker, it was assumed that you were a temporary worker only until you got a permanent job. It was viewed as a way to get your foot in the door. 

Today that’s changing. A lot of people love contracting. They get to accept different jobs when they want. A lot of times they can set their own rates. Make their own rules. And routinely, they are getting multiple offers to work on new and exciting technologies and be a part of things they might not see if they were permanently employed. 

We have folks who absolutely do not want permanent jobs. They like the contracting and freelance lifestyle. Of course, there are those who are seeking a permanent position and The Robert Half organization works with them as well. It all comes down to the candidate.

Seattle24x7: You recently published an infographic on the average salaries in the Seattle market, showing year-over-year increases of around 6%.

Sara Eide:  Yes, and what’s interesting is that it’s not just about salaries any more. While the paycheck definitely plays into it, accepting a role is more about the involvement and the perks of the job, the bells and whistles. What are the technologies I’m going to be working on?  Do I get to work on-site or off-site? Can I bring my dog to work?”

Chart: The recently released 2017 Salary Guides from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, show a number of high salary growth roles in the information technology (IT) and creative fields.

These eight roles in particular are seeing significant gains due to organizations’ increased focus on mobile and digital initiatives and big data:

 

Job Title

  % Increase from 2016    

  Average Starting Salary in Seattle  

1

Front-End Web Developer (1-3 years of experience)

                  7.2%

 $67,800 – $96,600

2

Mobile Designer

                  6.8%

 $96,000 – $145,800

3

Data Scientist

                  6.4%

 $139,200 – $196,200

4

User Experience (UX) Designer (3-5 years of experience) 

                  6.1%

$90,900 – $123,600

5

Big Data Engineer

                  5.8%

 $162,000 – $235,200

6

Network Security Engineer

                  5.7%

 $138,600 – $195,000

7

Content Strategist

                  5.4%

 $97,500 – $138,300

8

Software Engineer

                  5.2%

 $129,900 – $197,400

 

Seattle24x7:  Size up the scope of your operations for us.  How many people do you have in the Seattle office working for you?

Sara Eide:  I oversee the Robert Half Technology Division and “TCG” or The Creative Group division. All together we’ve got around 100 in-house account managers and administrative people here at our Seattle office across the board. This includes those who are managing contract employment and direct hires in the areas of Operations, Finance, and Legal, as well as Tech and Creative Services, serving literally hundreds of client companies throughout the region.

Seattle24x7: How many people would you say Robert Half Seattle is sending into the market in contract posts in any given week? 

Sara Eide:  In any given week we have upwards of 400+ contract professionals working in the region which, for our Seattle hub, extends as far south as Olympia and Centralia and as far north as Bellingham.

Seattle24x7:  Your Website offers several new ways for employers to search for prospective employees in your talent base? 

Sara Eide: Absolutely. Our new Candidate Browsing Tool allows companies to search for different talent and experience online, much like if I was going to arrange travel, or do some house hunting. I can browse online and see the profiles of different candidates who are available. Whether the search query is from a current client or not, they have the capability to browse through the profiles of different candidates and identify different skill and experience levels. So an employer can connect with us and say “I’d like to get more information on these four profiles specifically. “ It has been a very successful feature.  We’ve also introduced Online Chat for candidates or clients to literally talk to someone via a text chat while they are on our site. For example, if I’m a candidate looking for work and I’m browsing open roles, I can hit the online chat button and talk to someone about the position. We are then able to put those folks in touch with the recruiter.

Seattle24x7: You are also showcasing creative portfolios online?

Sara Eide:  Right, within our Candidate Browsing Tool on The Creative Group website, you can find a link to creative portfolios. This actually extends outside of the area. Say, you’re a company in Colorado. We have a TCG office there and so employers can find portfolios online for that market as well. 

Seattle24x7: What are the toughest positions you are looking to fill for clients?

Sara Eide:  I would say Data Scientists or Big Data Engineers are especially in demand because the field is becoming more and more important. We’re starting to talk more about specialization in areas like VRML.

Seattle24x7: How would you summarize the benefits of working with Robert Half and The Creative Group as an employer or as a candidate? 

Sara Eide: We are so specialized these days, from technical to creative, traditional to digital marketing, infrastructure tech roles to software dev tech roles. It can take some companies six months or more to make a hire when they are going it on their own.

We are presenting candidates tor clients in one day and two days later, if we haven’t heard back, those candidates are gone. They’ve been hired by someone else.  If there is one message to employers it is that if you find a talented candidate in front of you —  jump on it!  Bring those people on board because if you don’t, someone else will! [24×7]

The Creative Group, a Robert Half Company can be found at https://www.roberthalf.com/creativegroup