Startup Outlook 2013-SVB

Startup Outlook 2013 – Silicon Valley Bank

CleanTech/High Tech Trends: Start Up Hiring & Retention Struggles, Silicon Bank Survey Reports

Hiring and Retention of Tech Talent is a Challenge.


“Every time I meet with a group of tech company CEOs they say the same thing: hiring world-class talent is one of their biggest challenges. They struggle to find, attract and retain the engineering, scientific and technical talent they need to grow their businesses.” – Greg Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Silicon Valley Bank.[plus1 count=”true” size=”standard”][/plus1]

The annual SVB Startup Outlook survey showed that while 87% of startups are hiring, the same percentage report that it is somewhat or extremely challenging to find workers with the skills they need to grow their business. Two-thirds of startups’ biggest challenge to retaining the talent they need is a combination of finding and competing for the people with the right skills. STEM (science, technology, math, and engineering) skills are critical to business, report 82% of startups.


Interesting Factoids:

  • Nearly half of the startups in the survey have at least one immigrant on their founding team.
  • Technology startups have historically created 11 percent of all private sector jobs (21 percent of US GDP).
  • In 2011, only 42,000 bachelors degrees were conferred in computer science, out of 1.7 million degrees.
  • Two-thirds of startups surveyed (cleantech, hardware, and healthcare sectors) either currently manufacture, or plan on manufacturing in the next 18 months; Over 80% said that they’ll do some or all of that manufacturing in the U.S.


Education and Immigration Reform are Two Answers to the Talent Shortage.


As far as education is concerned, 82% of startups surveyed noted the most critical job skills need are STEM skills. 21st century computational thinking skills need to be taught in U.S. K-12 schools. Worker training to create tech-savvy, highly skilled American workforce with the skills that are in demand is important as well. Investment in creating a tech-educated talent pool should be a major focus of the U.S.

In terms of immigration, allowing more flexibility in employment for H1-B Visa holders would be an important first step. Currently it is set up such that immigrants working on these Visas can’t move to a position with a salary that is lower than their current employer. This challenge here is obvious; startups often offer a mix of salary and equity. “Recruits are willing to risk coming to work for a startup but they can’t risk losing their visas” affirms Benjamin Cohen, CEO of T-Rex.

The SVB Startup Report

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