Laid-off techies won’t go away

| Print |  Email
Thursday, January 01, 2009

PORTLAND In the final five months of 2008, somewhere between 2,000 and 2,400 workers in Silicon Forest lost their jobs. In some cases, companies such as Hynix Semiconductor and Hewlett-Packard shut down entire manufacturing facilities; in other cases, companies ranging from large — Lattice Semiconductor and Yahoo — to tiny — Iterasi — pared down their workforce in anticipation of a long-term economic drought.

The lost jobs represent only a fraction of Oregon’s total workforce. But they’re part of a significant downward trend in one of the state’s valued economic clusters. For example, year-to-date figures from October show an almost 8% drop in jobs in the computer and electronic manufacturing industry.

According to anecdotal accounts, those laid-off workers are taking different paths to re-employment. Some are switching industries; others are waiting for jobs in the tech cluster to reopen. One thing they’re not doing is leaving Oregon.

In October, Portland Community College’s workforce development program saw 12 tech workers get rehired at both small and large Silicon Forest companies; others left the industry altogether and were hired by banks. The program’s director, Jackie Sandquist, says they’re watching a wide range of companies, from hospitals to athletic clubs, for possible tech-related jobs.

Some workers who want to stay in tech are trying to use this time as a chance to jump on what they hope is the next big thing. “Everyone is very interested in clean tech,” says Nancy King, owner of the Portland executive recruitment firm Nancy King Search. “You want to be able to grow with the next growth industry.”

Neither Sandquist, King or Harvey Mathews, director of the Software Association of Oregon, see workers leaving the state. Historically, they say, tech workers have been willing to make fiscal and career sacrifices in order to stay. “There’s not a lot of rose-colored glasses on,” says Mathews. “They know 2009 is going to be tough but they’re going to find a way to get through it.”                   

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...

Leading with the right brain

News
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
120914-manderson-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

On the eve of the Portland Ad Federation's Rosey Awards, Matt Anderson, CEO of Struck, talks about the transition from creative director to CEO, the Portland talent pool and whether data is the new black in the creative services sector.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Corner Office: Marv LaPorte

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.


Read more...

Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumb

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS