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Sunday, July 28, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Job Market

Tech openings vary regionally

The Dallas Morning News

If you're an unemployed tech worker, a change of scenery might do you good.

Tricia Kelly, vice president of sales and marketing at Dallas-based tech recruiting firm DFA Consulting, said she's seeing job opportunities sprouting in unusual locations.

"We have a lot of positions in areas we haven't worked in before," she said. "For some reason, I've got a lot of positions in Las Vegas right now."

California (998,000 jobs), Texas (460,000) and New York (364,900) continued to lead the nation last year in the number of tech jobs, according to the Cyberstates 2002 survey by AeA, formerly known as the American Electronics Association.

But Kansas (6,800 jobs), Virginia (4,300), Oregon (4,200) and New Jersey (3,900) added the most tech jobs in 2001.

Colorado led the nation in concentration of high-tech workers last year, with 98 tech professionals per 1,000 private-sector workers.

Steve Lyle, worldwide staffing director for Texas Instruments, said TI is looking to add some engineers in California as well as in Dallas.

"The major opportunities for engineers have been in Texas and in California," he said. "There are some up in the Northeast, but primarily high-tech, semiconductor kinds of skill sets for engineers, design engineers, product engineers, test engineers and software-application engineers typically are in Texas and California."

Tech workers who do find jobs outside their areas shouldn't expect the employer to pick up the relocation costs, Kelly said. For some workers, just having a job is good enough.

"A lot of times clients will say, 'Absolutely no relocation,' " she said. "But if you go ahead and do it yourself, you might be able to get a little bit later."

Workers with families may have an especially hard time footing the bill for a full-scale relocation, and they might consider leaving their families and making a long commute every weekend, she said.

Employers are looking for workers flexible enough to move themselves, even if it means some sacrifice initially, Kelly said.

Not all employers are demanding such sacrifices, though.

Lyle said that experienced engineers are still fairly rare, and Texas Instruments has to be aggressive in courting those workers and keeping them from the competition.

"Even in this downturn, the type of engineers we're looking for are not all that eager to move, and they're even a little skeptical over whether they should," Lyle said. "So we still have to have a very competitive relocation package to put in front of our candidates."

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