12 toughest U.S. cities for tech recruiting

San Francisco isn't the toughest place to hire tech pros these days. The talent crunch is worse in New York City than in the renowned West Coast tech stronghold, according to IT staffing specialist Dice.com. Recruiting challenges are also hitting other U.S. cities across the country.

"Competition for talent has certainly become much more fierce," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice. "It's never been easy, and it's only going to get tougher."

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Dice surveyed hiring managers and recruiters to come up with its list of the 12 toughest U.S. cities to recruit tech talent. Here they are, along with the current number of available tech jobs in each city:

1. New York City (8,047 jobs)2. San Francisco (4,603 jobs)3. Washington, D.C. (6,316 jobs)4. Detroit (1,021 jobs)5. Boston (2,701 jobs)6. Chicago (3,478 jobs)7. Los Angeles (2,960 jobs)8. Little Rock, AR (job numbers unavailable*)9. Milwaukee, WI (379 jobs)10. Seattle (2,389 jobs)11. St. Louis, MO (892 jobs)12. Tampa, FL (622 jobs)

The No. 1 and No. 2 cities on Dice's ranking aren't really surprising, Goli says. "New York City and San Francisco you would expect. The supply and demand equation is totally imbalanced, and there's a major tightness in the market."

What's more surprising is the number of Midwest cities struggling to meet demand for tech professionals. "Finding talent in the Midwest is getting tougher. Five out of the 12 cities are in the Midwest region," Goli says. "That's fairly interesting."

In the big picture, companies across the U.S. and across industries are looking to add more technologists to the workforce mix -- and not only in the IT department. They're hiring tech-oriented marketing managers, sales engineers, and business analysts, for instance. "That's adding a lot more pressure from a hiring perspective, no matter what type of company you are," Goli says.

Adding to the competition for talent is an inadequate supply of computer science graduates. "As we know, the supply from our educational institutions is not growing as fast as we want," Goli says. (See also: Top 20 colleges for computer science majors, based on earning potential)

While the environment is tough for recruiters and hiring managers, it can mean good news for job candidates hoping to negotiate top salaries. "If you want good people, you've got to pay top dollar," Goli says.

He has experienced it firsthand: Dice recently opened an office in Silicon Valley, and Goli is trying to build up the workforce there. "Each month, I have to adjust my expectations of what I need to pay people to hire them."

* Prior to this survey, Dice didn't track job openings in Little Rock, Ark.

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and reach her via email at abednarz@nww.com.

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