Laptop-Hardware Execs Seek Oasis in Job Drought


The details-technology manufacturing company doesn’t seem like the spot for nurturing career ambitions these days. All round sales of laptop chips, hardware and other components are skidding for the third consecutive year, and the outlook remains uncertain. However within that gloomy framework bright spots exist, if you know exactly where to appear.

Consider Art Kimicata, who lately left a a number of-year career in the heavy-equipment-financing organization to return to the IT sector as executive vice president of Optimus Solutions LLC, a Norcross, Ga.-based reseller of gear created by International Organization Machines Corp.

“I just enjoyed IT, so I came back to it,” says the 49-year-old. “Factors are always altering, and it’s a industry that rewards swift reactors. So if you see an opportunity and it makes sense, you can exploit it before everyone else figures it out.” Optimus surely is performing so: Flush from the sale of servers, storage equipment and other pieces that businesses bought feverishly to construct their Web infrastructure, the organization has been expanding its sales force and aggressively pursuing sales even throughout the recent personal computer-spending slump. For two straight years, Optimus’s sales have risen substantially, totaling $ 124 million .

Hiring Hot Spot

Even some clearly troubled IT businesses can become unlikely oases for buffeted IT experts. More than the final two years Gateway Inc., the nation’s No. 4 pc maker, has posted losses of $ 1.six billion, eliminated about ten,000 jobs and closed scores of its retail retailers. Gateway is struggling to keep up with the erosion in its Computer sales even though adjusting to the emergence of the sector-major Hewlett Packard-Compaq mixture. But Gateway, based in Poway, Calif., is additional diversifying into what it calls “digital solutions” such as digital cameras and plasma TVs.

And for that reason, Gateway now is filling 20 executive jobs at the director level and above, out of a total of 175 senior-level jobs across the business. Even though lots of candidates are obtainable with industry knowledge, Gateway also is in search of prospective hires for these jobs outdoors of the IT field. “We can discover greater-level candidates all around,” says Michael Molina, vice president of human resources. “If it’s a merchandising job, we can go into the marketplace and specifically look for an individual from Nordstrom’s or that type of business. If we require someone who knows electronics, we’re hunting at Sony.”

Despite these indicators of life, occasions remain grim for IT in common and, specially, for IT manufacturing. The U.S. technologies sector lost about 560,000 jobs more than the past two years, according to a study by AeA, an business trade group. Of these, 415,000 had been in manufacturing, which has noticed a 20% decline in all round jobs to 1.62 million amongst January and December .

“Proper now, there’s genuinely a forest-for-the-trees mentality,” says Maria Schaefer, plan director for Meta Group Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-primarily based IT-research organization. “It’s a really gloomy time, and it doesn’t seem that there is any finish in sight to the gloom.” Most firms are not planning to improve their IT budgets this year, according to Meta’s annual IT staffing and compensation survey, presaging continued challenging times at hardware-manufacturing organizations.

An Emphasis on Services

But executives seeking new possibilities should not feel hopeless. Not too long ago hired senior-level executives, industry recruiters and consultants say that battered mid- and upper-level IT managers can capitalize on many good elements in the sector. “There are jobs” for senior-level executives in IT, even in the hardware enterprise, says James Champy, chairman of consulting for Perot Systems Corp., a Boston-primarily based IT-integration concern. “It’s just that they are not the sort of positions, and with the compensation, that individuals have been utilised to.”

At Unisys Corp., for instance, business development is now mostly on the expanding solutions side. But hardware sales continue to endure, so there’s small profession chance in that region of the organization. “We’re just holding tight,” says Dan Guaglianone, vice president of international recruiting for the Blue Bell, Pa.-based business. “There aren’t a lot of jobs. Servers are not selling, so there’s no need to have for us to generate them. We’re scaling back a bit on development. Just carrying out the issues we need to have to do, waiting for the industry to turn. Particularly in mid-range positions, we’re asking men and women to double up and do two jobs and just attempt to get through this time.”