Home Back Issues January 2009 Laid-off techies won’t go away

Laid-off techies won’t go away

| Print |  Email
Archives - January 2009
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

Downtime with Doug Gastich

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How the president of BlueVolt spends his free time.


Read more...

Salvage operation

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

For Far West Fibers, one of Oregon's largest and oldest mixed-recycling companies, garbage alchemy has long been big business.


Read more...

100 Best Green Companies Keynote Speech

News
Friday, May 30, 2014

green2014-069Watch the 2014 100 Best Green Companies keynote speech by Eric Friedenwald-Fishman.


Read more...

Creating a culture of compliance

Business tips
Thursday, June 19, 2014
DataBY MONICA ENAND | GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Nine tips for building habits among employees to respond when needed.


Read more...

Hipsters gone wild

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JON BELL

A new generation of outdoor apparel companies targets the young and the urban.


Read more...

Charged ride

June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
0614launchBY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Brad Baker, CEO and co-founder of Works Electric, is a good husband. His wife, an OHSU employee, sought a more efficient way to commute up Marquam “Pill” Hill, so she asked Baker to build a transportation solution.


Read more...

EPA Standards: A breath of fresh air for the region

News
Thursday, June 12, 2014
EPABY ANDREA DURBIN | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Last week, the Obama administration took an important and welcomed step in the effort to protect the health and well-being of all Oregonians by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants.


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