Despite Nine Percent Unemployment, Dumbo Startups Can’t Find People to Hire

The shortage in tech talent is getting ridiculous.

dumbo Despite Nine Percent Unemployment, Dumbo Startups Cant Find People to Hire


Jobs, jobs everywhere, and not a worker to fill them. In a city with nine percent unemployment, 17 Dumbo tech companies are struggling to fill 329 jobs in web development, mobile development, gaming and other related jobs, reports the New York Post. The agency HUGE needs to hire 50 people; Wireless Generation needs 150. Even DigitalDumbo, the local meetup and tech  blog, is hiring a community manager. “We are growing and positions open frequently!” says Carrot Creative.

Local startups say the answer is for NYU to close that deal on an applied sciences grad school in Downtown Brooklyn. (Guess they figure students who have from the Roosevelt Island tech campus will be snapped up by some other startup on the way to the interview.)

Dumbo, despite its cute cobblestones, has struggled for decades to recover from the decline of its manufacturing and industrial economy. But now that the area has a number of trendy young companies (Etsy! Holstee!), it’s being choked by its own growth. Almost two months into the new year, and Ben Parr’s rather obvious 2012 prognosticating is looking rather obviously correct. Mr. Parr! What will happen to Dumbo?

UPDATE: A spokesman for Wireless Generation says they’re not having trouble hiring—they’re just growing that fast. See comment below.


  1. Marianne says:

    This is a bit ridiculous, every technical position Huge has open in asking for 3-5+ years experience (some want as much as 8-10+ years of experience!) … how is a technical school supposed to fix that? School only gets you started as a developer, so all new schools will do is dump more inexperienced (but smart and learning) developers that no one wants to hire into the market. 

  2. Press says:

    There’s a misunderstanding here. Wireless Generation told the NY Post that we can’t confirm the premise that employees are hard to find. Our many job openings are due to our growth, but we find top tech talent wants to join our team. We consistently recruit and hire experienced staff and recent grads with top notch credentials from around the country to work in our offices in Brooklyn, North Carolina and elsewhere. We’re excited to be growing and offering new opportunities to highly qualified candidates. WG

    1. Anonymous says:

      Please email me,

  3. This is a sign of disorganization in the tech industry right now. It resembles a mad race… no one has time to think or plan or put things in order. 

    Normally, you’d be able to do what other industries have done in the past – train smart workers to handle new skilled openings. But the current development environment and the current business environment makes that impossible for most companies. The few companies that do have the ability to invest in their workers – more often than not, they really don’t have to. They have their pick of the litter. They can hire people who are well-trained and ready to go for whatever positions they need to fill, even if the requirements are incredible. And, often, the requirements are too much even for someone with a bachelor’s in computer science. You always need more.

    Which is a shame, because most of what these companies are doing could be done with simple, established code patterns. Making a CRUD app is not something that should require a top-of-the-line engineer. It can be nearly automated with the use of a framework. The reason why these companies have demanding engineering requirements is because the toolsets and the platforms are a chaotic mess. Almost nothing is packaged in a way that is usable. It takes a braniac to make sense of any of it. 

    Why is it this way? Arrogance, greed, and brain-drain. Our best engineers are not working on strengthening toolsets and code patterns – they’re all trying to help a few behemoth companies gain an infintisesimal edge in an established application, like search optimization or high-frequency trading. No one, except maybe Microsoft (!!!), is stepping up to make the investment in that labor pool to keep some of those people working on tools. The prevailing attitude in the tech industry – not everyone thinks this way, but this is the idea that dominates the conversation – is that the current set of clients, languages, frameworks, CLI shell environments, and notepad editors is “good enough”. Perhaps, if you have an army of “ninjas” at your service. But virtually everything is improvable, and sadly very little has changed on the tech side in 15-20 years.  We’re mostly using tech whose core parts and ideas are over a decade old. Yet the packaging of is it such a mess that no one can fully keep up with it. The companies that are trying to address that problem are tiny, and no one is writing about them. 

    But, oh, hey, look! Canvas! Instagram! Pinterest! Facebook!