Get the Inside Story on Silicon Valley Hiring Trends
What does it take to land a premium job in the nation's innovation hub? With countless professionals aiming to work here, Silicon Valley continues to be one of the most competitive job markets in the world.
The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University recently hosted an insightful discussion between Dr. Seoyoung Kim, finance department chair and Master of Science in Finance and Analytics program director, and Fiona Geisinger, MBA ‘12, co-founder and president of Owl Search Partners, a retained search firm for finance, accounting, and people roles. They spoke about the current job market and hiring trends in Silicon Valley, and Santa Clara University’s close ties to this hub of technology and business expertise.
You can watch the entire conversation on our Career Resources page, and excerpts of it follow here.
Today’s Opportunities in Silicon Valley
SK: We’re in a particularly tough job market—a tech winter. What are you hearing and seeing right now in terms of the hiring trends and layoffs?
FG: This is such an interesting market, and it's such a great time to be having this discussion because it's not the crash we saw back in 2008. This isn't ‘everything's going to zero.’ There are a lot of jobs out there that are being hired for, a lot of people getting laid off, and more jobs opening up.
The industries that are making an impact are the ones that are getting funding and hiring and ramping up. We're seeing a lot in the medical technology space, the sustainability environmental space, [and] in the SaaS space—in companies that are helping other companies be more efficient with cost-savings and different areas like that. We're not seeing as much in the hyper-growth scaling IPO space.
The Need for Steady Leadership
FG: When you're looking at a finance role and you want to be that person who's taking a company public over and over again—you want to be that serial leader—that's not out there right now, because people are in survival mode. We talk about a hibernation mode that we see: lots of layoffs, holding the ‘steady staff.’ That steady staff is the skills that they're looking for: someone who can wear a lot of hats and carry the torch until we get out of this winter.
Become a Competitive Hiring Choice
SK: What would you recommend that our graduate business students focus on, in terms of being most competitive for employers when they complete their programs?
FG: It's less about the area you're going into and more about what you can bring to the table. Make sure that the skills you're bringing are very diversified. Companies are a little uneasy about things that are happening in the market, so they're not going to hire multiple people for the same role. And sometimes, especially in the startup environment, which is what we see a lot in the Bay area, they want someone who can wear a lot of hats.
When you're starting to program the classes you're taking, diversify what you're taking and be able to speak to multiple levels of the different areas. In a finance situation, for example, if you understand corporate financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and your basic financial statements, but you’re also more on the analytical side and understand sales finance or investment finance and ROIs and net present values, you're bringing more to the table. From what we're seeing in the market, that is what is getting the offers: the people who show that they're beyond the box of the job description.
Connecting Students to Silicon Valley
The Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University is committed to ensuring that all students have opportunities to interact with companies in the heart of Silicon Valley.
SK: What have you noticed that SCU does to connect students who are online to our Silicon Valley career networks?
FG: Santa Clara is making sure there's networking going on. There's on-site—you have to come to campus a couple of times to meet the students. There's still collaboration work. There are still those same case studies, showing different areas of Silicon Valley work, bringing people in-house to do lunch-and-learns and happy-hour chats. There's still that connection to the Silicon Valley world, and to CFOs and CEOs and founders and leaders. That sets it apart from other master's programs because the Leavey School of Business is essentially taking the in-person program and translating it online, but still having it as challenging as if you were sitting next to the person. And then you add case studies and group projects, and you still have to learn the management skills of working together, and how to deal with different personalities, and all of the skills that you should be getting from a master's program.
Strengthen Your Leadership Expertise at the Leavey School of Business
You’re motivated to achieve more and determined to make a powerful difference in your career. Renowned for innovation and ethics, the Leavey School of Business can empower you to reach those goals. Its graduate programs, including four immersive online master’s programs, are built to accelerate your success.
The distinguished faculty members in the Leavey School of Business excel as teachers, researchers, scholars, and business leaders. As board members of the American Institute of Architects and the Global Women's Leadership Network, members of the Academy of Management, patent holders, and award-winning researchers and published scholars, these tenured and executive professors readily share the expertise gained from their ongoing professional experience in Silicon Valley. They also leave their mark as mentors to each cohort of Leavey students and alumni, encouraging close and continued contact and urging students to reach out whenever needed.
Now is the time to make your mark on the world of business leadership. Schedule a time to talk with an admissions outreach advisor today to learn how the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University can help you take your career to the next level.