Online Job Offers Up In L.A. Despite Steady Unemployment Rate
The following is part of our series wading through the economic jargon, Crunching Numbers.
The number of online postings for jobs in Los Angeles rose in August, according to a monthly analysis of employers’ online recruitment activity—adding to the steady growth trend in local job ads seen this year.
Monster Worldwide, Inc., an online recruiting firm, said its Los Angeles employment index rose 3 percent last month and a total of 28 percent since January—driven by employer demand for healthcare practitioners, construction workers and maintenance workers. Postings for entertainment/media jobs increased 22 percent since January. Computer-related job postings climbed 20 percent.
Monster’s index is based on an analysis of job postings on corporate career sites and job boards and offers only a partial look at the labor market, as some companies don’t post all available positions online.
While this rising trend in job openings means future hiring—and is good news for workers with the skills for these high demand jobs—Los Angeles hasn’t seen proportional increases is its employment numbers in recent months. That’s because most of those among Los Angeles’ nearly 12 percent unemployed do not possess the skills many employers are looking for.
Take web design, for example.
“There is a skills shortage,” said John Kempe, a Los Angeles-based technology recruiter at Arsenal Recruiting Group. “There are not enough people that are competent at web design—and especially on the development side.”
At Arsenal, Kempe recruits software engineers and web designers for startups. While all web development skills are in high-demand right now, he says experienced back-end developers who know newer programming languages like Python and Ruby are the hardest to find.
When a client comes to Arsenal in search of a programmer with those skills and a few years of experience, Kempe has his work cut out for him.
“Number one, there aren’t a lot of people out there with these skills. Number two, they’re all employed. Nobody that knows Ruby on Rails is going to have a tough time finding a job.”
Robin McKee-Clark, an agent for Aquent, a staffing agency that focuses on marketing and design talent, echoed concerns of a skills shortage.
“There’s a dire need for web developing—for everything from gaming to social media,” McKee-Clark said.
McKee-Clark said she’s seen a spike in employer demand for marketing and design professionals since last summer. She thinks new digital industries—like eBook development—will provide jobs down the line, but only to those who have the skills.
“Print for that work has died a slow and terrible death,” she said. “If the people in print design had the wherewithal to learn digital, they still have jobs.”
Los Angeles’s recruitment gains were just ahead of the national trend—a relatively good omen in a region that’s seen higher unemployment rates and slower recovery than the rest of the nation. Monster’s index showed online job listings for the United States grew 17 percent so far in 2012, driven primarily by increased demand for workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.
Web developers aren’t the only Los Angeles workers getting hired. Local recruiting and staffing agencies say they’ve seen in an increase across the board in companies looking to hire over the past several months.
Lina Savickaite, a Los Angeles-based staffing coordinator at Stivers Staffing Services, says she’s seen a dramatic increase in orders for administrative and clerical staff.
“Just a few months ago, some days I’d handle two orders per week,” Savickaite said. “Today, I had five.”
Most of those orders, she said, are coming from law offices and entertainment companies in search of receptionists and administrative assistants.
Monster tracks recruitment in 28 metro markets, all of which showed positive annual growth in August. Houston and Dallas saw the most year-on-year growth in August (15 percent), while Pittsburgh and Seattle saw the least (4 percent).
Monster’s index is based on a selection of more than 1,500 online job board postings. The margin of error is about plus or minus 1 percent.
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