> Assessing the High-Tech Workforce of the Future
> Linda Holroyd
>Linda Holroyd is Director of Marketing and Business Development at
>Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a regional, non-partisan voice
>and civic catalyst for solutions to problems which impact all sectors
>of the community.
>Linda will present the findings of the 2002 Workforce Study produced
>by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and based on a survey of 2,500
>Silicon Valley 8th and 11th grade students conducted by A.T. Kearney in
Linda began her talk by sharing Joint Venture's Mission with us. She explained they want to "Mobilize people from business, labor, government, education, and all segments of the community to: sustain our innovative economy, increase productivity, and broaden prosperity; protect the environment and promote livability; and Connect people to opportunities; through shared solutions and regional stewardship for a vital and vibrant community." She then explained that they accomplish these goals by planning, measuring and reporting, convening leaders across sectors, providing strategic facilitation, removing obstacles, and fostering civic engagement and social innovation.
She then showed us a number of interesting charts that gave us information on what has happened over the past decade or more. For example, one chart showed total venture capital financing in Silicon Valley vs. time. That one showed that annual investment was something like $1billion a year in 1990, climbing slowly to about $4 billion in 1998, and then spiking to $22 billion in 2000, from which investment has fallen to more like $7 billion last year. This bubble was reflected in the chart on valley employment also, where last year was the first year that the region had lost jobs since 1993.
Linda then presented us with some findings about what the valley youth think of and know about technology. It turns out that 99% of them have access to computers, and 91% of them take advantage of that for something. However, only about 32% of the students find the technology interesting. Reasons that the rest of them don't see much value in it range from "people working with computers don't really have a life" to "computers are pretty boring." She pointed out that when the youth see people starting companies just because venture capitalists will fund them, when those companies go bankrupt, as often happens when there is a poorly thought out proposal, they get a whole set of wrong messages about what can be done in the industry. Also visible in her youth charts was the finding that males are much more interested in technology than females, and parents have a huge influence on their children.
The rest of Linda's presentation was a discussion of how Silicon Valley seems to always be riding the waves of innovation. One chart showed how technology employment in the Valley has grown with each wave, starting with the Defense wave in the 1960s, then the integrated circuit wave in the 1970s, the personal computer wave in the 1980s, and the Internet wave in the 1990s. Her prediction is that the next wave will probably have something to do with info-technology, bio-technology, and/or nano-technology. She finished by saying that we must work together to ensure that the next wave happens here, and that it works for our communities.
For more info, please visit www.jointventure.org.