Report: High marks for Utah tech diversity, not for available talent
Executives call for public-private partnerships to ease personnel shortage.
Published: April 23, 2012 11:45AM
Updated: April 23, 2012 05:42PM
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Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune file photo Keyvan Esfarjani, co-CEO of IM Flash Technologies, noted that his Lehi operation fills 59 percent to 64 percent of its positions each year with personnel from out of state because of an in-state shortage of employees with the specialized skills the company needs.

Utah ranks at the top in the nation for most diverse tech industries, according to Milken Institute research.

However, a shortage of talent continues to be a key challenge for companies such as IM Flash Technologies and Watson Laboratories, who are looking to hire in Utah.

Keyvan Esfarjani, co-CEO of IM Flash in Lehi, and John Spigiel, general manager of Watson Laboratories, shared their thoughts on “Solving Utah’s Talent Shortage” at the Utah Technology Council’s recent annual Members’ Meeting at the Little America Hotel.

“We must form a task force to promote technology opportunities in Utah,” Spigiel said. “We should create a symposium to showcase Utah’s business climate, and we should partner with state government and education to create education/professional training programs, as well as partner with high schools and universities.”

Utah’s private sector needs to invest, partner and prepare to fill its talent needs from within Utah, Esfarjani said.

He noted that IM Flash fills 59 percent to 64 percent of its positions each year with personnel from out of state because of an in-state shortage of employees with the specialized skills the company needs.

Richard Nelson, UTC founder and CEO, said the industry must raise its voice in support of a solution to the state’s talent shortage. “It will take all of us, in a concerted effort, to solve the complex challenges our technology industries face,” he said.

The UTC is a professional association made up of the state’s high-tech, life science and clean-tech businesses.