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Jay Snider

High tech workers can be hard to find, according to recent report

by Jay Snider

Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons was quoted extensively in a recent article in the company's hometown newspaper, The Register-Guard. The article focused on a number of local high tech firms in the Eugene area, and the problems they face when their growth outpaces the pool of qualified job candidates.

From the article:

Software/Web development “is one of the quietest sectors I think in Lane County (Oregon),” said Thomas Emmons, CEO of Emberex, a web development firm in downtown Eugene. “I don’t think it gets a lot of play. It’s just this undercover thing.”

Despite an economy predicted to be flat, or only slightly up, in 2012, Emmons and other local tech firm executives are optimistic about their companies’ prospects this year.

Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons forecasts sales growth of 20 percent to 30 percent in the fiscal year that will end Sept. 30, largely because of a new online service the Eugene firm launched in April. “This year we have something to sell that I think is the best product we’ve ever had,” Parsons said.

The service, LivePlan, is an online business planning tool geared to entrepreneurs and small businesses, who pay a monthly service fee. Since April, LivePlan sales have been growing an average of 28 percent each month, Parsons said. 

With steady growth projected, Palo Alto Software is in hiring mode. The company has 38 employees in downtown Eugene and has five openings, mostly for developers. If growth continues at this pace, Palo Alto will hire another five developers starting in March, and in August the company may be looking for five more developers, “if we can find them,” Parsons said. “Developers are very hard to hire,” she said. “I’d say in the tech industry that’s the biggest hurdle right now.”

Read more about Palo Alto Software and other Eugene, Oregon tech firms at the Register-Guard.com