Proactive career management: Page 3

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Other cities, such as Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., have seen an IT employment renaissance because of local businesses and government working together to increase economic development and, as a result, the number of jobs. As such regions seek to attract technology companies, the number of IT jobs increases. For example, look at the expansion of Web development positions in these cities (see table, "Timing is Everything" on Page 4).

As companies converge on these areas, they draw the employees, investments, and jobs from other parts of the country. Smaller cities not shown in these tables have actually seen significant losses recently. It's likely the 24.3% loss in Harrisburg, Pa., went to Philadelphia, for example.

Regional economic hiccups can affect even those areas that should be strong. Look at San Diego, which saw an overall drop in job postings even though it is near some of the nation's strongest IT job markets. Much of the drop is probably temporary and can be traced to wireless giant Qualcomm, according to Lisa Dowd, CEO of S.Com Inc., a San Francisco staffing and consulting firm that focuses on the wireless communications market.

Qualcomm has seen both some financial set-backs and the acquisition of a competing division of Ericcson Electric. As a result, it started to cut back employment. "They lay off several hundred people at a time," says Dowd. But those affected went to other local area companies, which found themselves filling needs without having to advertise positions.

So, employees may find that locating new positions is easy, but only in certain parts of the country. Hiring managers, meanwhile, can actually use such conditions to their advantage by looking for employees who are focused on a better and slower quality of life or those who have ties to a given area.

Those on both sides of the hiring fence should also keep in mind that quality of life goes only so far when demand is high and supply is limited. According to Kenzer's Erickson, salaries continue to rise. "You cannot assume that [a company] can pay for these people what [they] paid for them a year ago. You are probably looking at a 10% to 20% increase over last year. Companies are desperate," she notes. //

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