This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 19, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Nearly 2 million Americans were laid off last year, the massive cuts leaving many folks still out there looking for work. But there is some good news. Thousands of jobs are available. You just need to know where to look.
And here to talk about today's job market and what's out there is Scot Melland. He's the CEO of Dice.com, a job listing service for technology professionals. And, Scot, it sounds encouraging, yet so many people who are out of work are now losing their unemployment benefits, kids have graduated from college less, some still don't have jobs. They're moving back in with mom and dad. What is your advice?
SCOT MELLAND, CEO, DICE.COM: Well, I would say if they have technology skills, I would say that the outlook looks pretty good. Use the online boards, use dice.com to find a technology position and really stress your experience. What employers are interested in these days is experience.
KEENAN: It seems kind of counterintuitive. Isn't technology where all the jobs are being cut?
MELLAND: Well, there has been a huge decline in job demand over the past year. But we are actually very optimistic for 2002 because there has been a surge for the last two to three months. And it's been a surge in areas that indicate there might be follow-on employment opportunities.
KEENAN: In what industries are you seeing the real strength in?
MELLAND: Defense, aerospace, pharmaceuticals and biotech are really the leading industries. The functional areas though are the backend traditional IT technologies.
KEENAN: For people who maybe moved into the dot-coms and into the technology arena in the late 1990s, a lot of them living in big cities, have been looking for work now for nine months and can't find a job. What do they need to do? They need to be a lot more flexible than they were a few years ago, I would think.
MELLAND: I think if you can be flexible in terms of geography, you are in great shape, although the big-tech metro areas are still the most popular areas where you where you find most of the positions. But if they are flexible, there is also burgeoning demand in cities like Philadelphia and Washington D.C., for example.
KEENAN: And there, we see the defense component showing the largest growth last year. And you would assume that that would happen, that that would be a huge area again this year.
MELLAND: Absolutely. And I think with everything that is going on in the world, you are going to see that continue for several years in the future.
KEENAN: And there we see the map of the major tech-job areas, kind of what you would expect. What kind of salaries can people expect if they can actually land the job? Have the salaries come way down?
MELLAND: Well, the good news is that tech salaries on average are still higher than the national average. They are about $68,000 across all different specialties. We did see an increase in 2001, but in the fourth quarter, we actually saw a decline and it wiped away most of the increase for the year. But we are to starting to see that stabilize again into 2002.
KEENAN: Still pretty high salaries, and that encourages a lot of people to change careers. If you were downsized from say a Ford Motor, 35,000 jobs cut there, would you advise the people try to retool themselves for technology or are the jobs going to be a lot more scarce?
MELLAND: I would definitely consider retooling for technology because even though we are in a bit of a sector decline today, the long-term demand for technology professionals is huge.
KEENAN: All right. Thanks for your insights. We appreciate it. Scot Melland, Dice.com.
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