Young graduates struggle for Silicon Valley jobs

Tue Dec 9, 2008 8:06am EST
 
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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Young professionals and recent graduates have struggled to find work in a sliding economy, but one area -- Silicon Valley -- has been relatively immune. Until now.

Silicon Valley companies that initially resisted the swooning of the economy are looking to cut costs and shed entry-level positions, and people in their 20s are finding a college degree is no longer their golden ticket to a dream job in high tech.

"I feel like I put in all the work (in school) to not have a job," said Jillian Crawford, 25, who's been looking for a marketing job with a tech company since she graduated with honors from San Jose State University in June.

Crawford has applied to about 25 marketing jobs without receiving much of a response from employers. She remains committed to finding a job in Silicon Valley and would be dismayed if she had to look elsewhere.

That may not be easy.

Silicon Valley has been hit hard by the global economic crisis as tech companies, including Hewlett Packard Co, Yahoo Inc, Sun Microsystems Inc and Applied Materials Inc, have shed 140,000 jobs in the last few months, according to Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a consulting group.

Instead, employers are putting an increased value on experience and tenure, something recent graduates lack. And many companies are moving seasoned employees around to fill open positions rather than add another person to the payroll, according to Kerry Kiley, Bay Area regional manager for employment firm Adecco.

"Things out there are very, very tough right now and seem to be getting tougher before they're getting better -- even for the educated," she said. Only engineers buck the trend.

It has been tough for Crawford. She moved back home with her parents a little over a month ago to save money while searching for a job.   Continued...

 
<p>Christine Chase, 24, searches for a job on her computer in her apartment in Campbell, California December 8, 2008. Chase was laid off from her contractor job at AT&amp;T in the Silicon Valley in August, and is struggling to pay her bills with the money she receives from unemployment. With the holidays approaching and four fruitless months on the job search, she recently registered with a recruiting agency for help finding a job. Silicon Valley companies that initially resisted the swooning of the economy are looking to cut costs and shed entry-level positions, and people in their 20s are finding a college degree is no longer their golden ticket to a dream job in high tech. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>