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Niche Oriented Tech Players feel need for workers

Posted on February 10, 2007
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The Denver Business Journal – December 2, 2005
by Bob Mook
Denver Business Journal

While employment statistics suggest the technology industry lags behind the rest of the state’s economy, local recruiters say small tech companies are hiring at a rate not seen since the tech boom of the late 1990s.

“Recruiters are seeing a general uptick,” said Greg Barman, who works as senior technical recruiter for The Innovar Group, a Denver-based recruiting company. “It’s not quite across-the-board recovery, but it’s fairly broad.”

Barman points to the growing membership of the Colorado Technical Recruiters Network (CTRN) as evidence that prospects are improving in the IT industry.

The organization more than tripled from 60 to over 200 members in the past year. It had about 300 members at its peak in 2000.

After the tech bubble burst, Barman said, about half of the tech recruiters he knows were out of work — himself included. Many recruited in other industries. Others left recruiting altogether to pursue more lucrative jobs, such as selling mortgages.

But now, the CTRN is planning a training conference in 2006 and hosts regular speakers during its monthly meetings — events that would have been unthinkable during the recession, said Barman, a member of CTRN’s board of directors.

Recruiters say much of the hiring activity is occurring within small software companies — particularly those that specialize in enterprise software to help businesses operate more efficiently.

Jobs in the “information” sector (which includes telecommunicatons, publishing and some software products) declined by 3.5 percent in the last year, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

But a good number of software companies fall under the much broader category of “business services” — in which employment grew 12.6 percent between October 2004 and October 2005.

Other tech hot spots that might be defined as business services include storage, network security and technical projects related to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Carl Mather, director of client services for EDP Recruiting Services in Englewood, agreed that many of the new job requests are from smaller, niche-oriented software companies.

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