Last Thursday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that the Redmond, Washington-based “world’s largest software developer” will be laying off 18,000 people over the next six months — 12,500 from recently acquired Nokia. While no hospitable Hoosier would ever delight in someone losing his or her job, it’s prudent for every Indiana tech employer to recognize Microsoft’s reorganization is an opportunity to bring some world-class talent back home to Indiana.

It’s actually already happening organically. Following last week’s announcement, our IndyX talent retention and repatriation team heard from a current Microsoft employee out West who doesn’t want to wait to find out if his job is being eliminated or not — he’s looking for new opportunities, including hoping for a good fit with a tech company in Indianapolis.

It’s not only Microsoft. There seems to be a trend of large legacy software companies “leaning down,” following an Agile model or just shedding jobs to re-position themselves and to become more nimble. Cisco announced a RIFing of 4,000 employees a year ago August, and SAP announced a “significant” reduction expected to be in the thousands this May. 

A quick Linkedin search yielded more than 850 former Hoosiers and others who went to college in Indiana and currently work at Microsoft or Nokia out of state. That’s a fairly large pool of highly skilled computer-related workers from just one company who are predisposed to accepting a job with an Indiana-based tech company.

We know this because the tech employers survey we commissioned earlier this year revealed that at least eight out of 10 computer-related employees are from Indiana or have an Indiana family connection. Additionally, we learned that 85 percent of those companies experienced a high level of competition for talent in Indiana, and 65 percent perceived a skills gap between available talent and the jobs that the companies are looking to fill — mostly software applications developers. That’s why this 18,000 reduction in force at Microsoft is important for local employers to “carpe techie,” as it were, and make sure that those searching for positions know about exceptional opportunities in Indiana.

Through Xpat, an IndyX initiative, TechPoint is reaching out to graduates of Indiana’s top research universities and computer science programs with a targeted Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin campaign that highlights some of the advantages of and interesting things about tech careers and life in Indianapolis.



What kind of talent could be looking for new challenges once Microsoft reorganizes? Here are the main markets in which Microsoft competes:

  • Computer operating system market (Windows)
  • Computer software market (Microsoft Office)
  • Internet search market (Bing)
  • Video game industry (Xbox)
  • Digital services market (MSN)
  • Personal computer/tablet production market (Microsoft Surface)
  • Mobile phone software market (Windows Phone OS)
  • Smartphone hardware market (Nokia)

What are you or your company doing to recruit highly skilled computer-related workers? Are there talent attraction efforts that really paid off that you’re willing to share with our readers? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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