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

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Launch

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Tight and Loose

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS

As schools implement more rigorous academic standards, holistic and flexible approaches to K-12 education flourish.


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Startup or Grow Up?

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JON BELL

Startup culture is all the rage. Is there a downside?


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