More Tech Startups Want to Hire, But Are Finding Talent Hard to Find

More tech startups than at any time in the last four years will be looking to hire this year, says Silicon Valley Bank, but they worry they won’t be able to find the talent they need.

Even as most leaders and founders of the firms surveyed by the bank for its annual Startup Outlook say conditions in the U.S. are better this year than last, the number of them who report hiring talent is their biggest challenge has grown. Nine out of 10 executives report finding and hiring the talent they need is their biggest challenge.

The annual survey, says 87% of the tech startups reported plans to add staff this year. That’s up four points from last year, and 14 points from the first survey conducted in 2010. The strongest market for startup hiring, according to the report, is Texas. The Boston area and metro New York are 3rd and 5th respectively.

Finding Talent Is Biggest Challenge

Silicon Valley Bank startup hiring challengeSoftware and hardware startups report having the hardest time finding the tech talent they need. For healthcare sector firms, hiring is not quite as much of a challenge — 17% describe it as “extremely challenging” compared to the next lowest scoring industry, cleantech, where 23% described hiring that way. However, healthcare startups are also the least likely to be adding staff, at least compared to the sectors.

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Perhaps not too surprising, only the smallest of startups, those with fewer than 10 workers (which tend to be very early stage firms), say their biggest challenge, just ahead of finding talent, is the compensation it takes to land tech professionals. For every other size firm the biggest challenge is finding workers with the necessary skills.

Most in demand, especially among hardware startups, are the STEM skills; 82% of the executives said they are looking for those workers, and 40% reported no skills are more important. Only 17% said management, marketing, or other non-STEM skills are important to them.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


1 Comment on “More Tech Startups Want to Hire, But Are Finding Talent Hard to Find

  1. Why not try looking for talents outside the
    country? There are numerous remote staffing agencies out there that could
    provide qualified candidates for a smaller price. Bolton Staffing, for example,
    is based in the Philippines and provides remote workers for companies in the
    US, Europe, and Australia. Those interested can check the company out at

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