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Companies Still Hiring During Pandemic
Taylor Soper & Todd Bishop, Geekwire 240 Times 178 People

The lack of skilled IT workers is hurting the deployment of emerging technology, according to a new survey from Gartner. In areas from cloud to cybersecurity, this crisis is expected to last for years to come.

Document engineering startup Docugami has doubled its team to 20 people since raising a $10 million funding round in early February. Docugami is still hiring, recruiting for a variety of open engineering positions in a job market that has suddenly been turned on its head.

But amidst the economic uncertainty, there are still tech companies of all sizes looking to fill roles. Some of them share common traits, including the good fortune of having raised funding in the weeks or months prior to the downturn. 

And certain tech sectors are still booming. Telemedicine and cloud computing startups, for example, need help meeting demand due to the outbreak.

Across the tech industry as a whole, job openings actually rose 4.9% from April 13 to April 27, according to employment review and jobs site Glassdoor.

“While the small increase is not enough to offset the total declines over the duration of the crisis, it is a reason for optimism.” wrote Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao.

Recent funding fuels hiring

In the meantime, the tech job market has been radically transformed. Companies that are hiring have sudden access to a new pool of high-quality engineers, designers, salespeople, and others who are out of a job. Tech workers who were just laid off have tougher competition and fewer open roles to pick from.

It’s a sudden departure from a tight labor market that fueled intense competition between tech companies vying for scarce talent.

“The marketplace has definitely flipped,” said Shauna Swerland, CEO of Seattle recruiting firm Fuel Talent. Companies with open roles “are very serious about hiring and they’re moving quicker,” she said.

Startups Funded and are hiring

Many healthcare startups are accelerating their roadmaps due to the pandemic. Twistle, which makes it easier for hospitals to communicate with patients, saw huge interest in its COVID-19 assessment technology and is now bringing on up to 10 employees by this summer to help support demand.

It’s good timing — the startup is now seeing higher quality resumes given the recent layoffs, said Eliza Polly, vice president of people and culture. Twistle, founded in Seattle, also recently raised investment, giving it a cash runway that many other early-stage startups don’t have.

A spike in venture capital investment in Pacific Northwest startups last fall is one of the factors driving the hiring in the sector now

For example, Seattle-based on-demand freight network Convoy, which raised $400 million in November, has a long list of open positions. 

Seattle startup 98point6 raised $43 million earlier this month to help increase development capacity for its virtual healthcare technology. The company has 241 employees and expects to reach 350 people by 2021.

The global pandemic is also accelerating the shift to other tech-fueled services such as digital remittances. 

Remitly, which helps people send money overseas, saw customer growth spike 100% from February to March, with a 40% growth in transaction volume. It is looking to fill 25 positions.

Among the tech giants, Amazon could come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. Millions are relying on the company for everything from grocery delivery to cloud computing. 

Not only is the Seattle company hiring 175,000 additional warehouse workers, but it has more than 10,000 open software development roles and thousands of other positions available across sales, project management, and more.

Facebook, with more than 5,000 Seattle-area workers, plans to hire an additional 10,000 people this year.

Tableau, acquired by Salesforce last year, is still hiring, with 345 open roles. 

Avalara has hired 106 full-time employees since March 1 and is looking to bring on another 164 people.

Other publicly-traded companies with in the Seattle region with available jobs include Impinj, Adaptive Biotechnologies, and F5 Networks.

Larger companies with more resources have a leg up over smaller startups in terms of dealing with hiring in a crisis. 

With layoffs and hiring freezes, there are fewer companies competing for the attention of potential new employees. That makes it easier to recruit, said Hadi Partovi, CEO of the Seattle-based The computer science education nonprofit is hiring for a wide range of technical and curriculum positions. Its non-labor expenses are also dropping significantly, Partovi said.

Mobile marketplace startup OfferUp hired 50 people since going virtual.

Police body cam maker Axon, which has large Seattle office, is piloting a new hiring approach for remote employees as it looks to fill more than 500 open roles. It has also moved the recruitment process completely online.

“Given our hiring, we have not slowed down during COVID, but have become more flexible,” said vice president Luke Larson.

Seattle research and design firm Blink UX has brought on more than 20 new team members since the outbreak began.

“As long as our client work continues to come in, and our current staff are fully utilized and forecasted to be booked for 1-to-2 quarters out, we consider it safe to hire,” CEO Clark Cole said.

A recent survey found that about one in six employers are providing subsidies to manage the cost of working at home, such as WiFi, childcare, office equipment, and utility expenses.


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