The first place job seekers should turn for work are technology startups, new research shows.
A study by Silicon Valley Bank discovered that 87 percent of technology startups plan to hire new employees this year — the most in the last four years. Hiring is up nearly 15 percentage points since 2010.
The research reveals that software companies plan to do the most hiring, with 90 percent planning to increase the size of their workforces this year. In addition, a significant number of hardware, cleantech and healthcare startups also expect to add new employees this year.
Companies are also looking for specific skill sets. For instance, more than 80 percent of the U.S. startups surveyed are looking for employees with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.
Greg Becker, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, said tech companies represent a bright spot in the global economy.
"There is a lot of opportunity to put people to work at startups, which is particularly welcome news, since jobs in general are recovering slowly," Becker said. "Investments in STEM education and policies that support tech businesses will help people take advantage of jobs, and benefit economic growth overall."
Many tech startups are having trouble finding employees that are a good fit. The study found that 90 percent have difficulty identifying workers with the skills needed. That is especially true in Texas and Washington state, where more than 90 percent of tech employers report having a problem finding qualified candidates.
The study was based on surveys of more than 750 executives at startups across the United States. For the purposes of this study, startups were primarily defined as companies in the innovation sector with less than $100 million in annual revenue and fewer than 500 employees.