Hedge Funds Luring Away

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-02 Print this article Print

Prospective Microsoft Talent"> Editors Note: This is the second in a series of articles, based on an interview with Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, that examine the focus, strategy, challenges and opportunities for the software company going forward. The biggest challenge facing Microsoft today is making sure that it has enough qualified, capable, talented people who can continue to scale with the company.
But the Redmond, Wash., software maker is facing competition for those resources from an unexpected source: the hedge fund industry.
"You have about a third of the number of people entering the IT field than you did during the dot-com era," Microsofts Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told eWEEK. "Also, one of the stiffest competitors we face today are the hedge funds, for staff to support all the major systems and analysis and decision support-type activity they do and which is pretty intensive. "There is excitement and glamour associated with working for a hedge fund, so we are finding that some of the best competition that we get in the marketplace is coming straight from the hedge funds, which, over the past few years, have added a lot more people than Google and Yahoo," he said. While Microsoft has always had to compete for skilled workers with other companies in the technology field—something it has learned to manage—the hedge funds are a player that has entered an already pretty full field, Turner said. Microsoft is still figuring out its core strategies. Click here to read more. "I dont know that we saw the hedge fund opportunity coming. I dont know that we realized until we started going back to campuses how much they were peeling off in that particular space. … We are now coming to grips with the issue of how we make this company aspirational, how we make it a company that people want to work for," he said. Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to try to correct the growing shortage of IT graduates and the shrinking number of people entering the technology field by doing things like lobbying in Washington for relief. "Its unfortunate that we can educate people here, but they then have to go home. Also, [Microsoft Chairman] Bill [Gates], [CEO] Steve [Ballmer], myself and others are all speaking at universities to get students excited about getting into the technology field," he said. The shortage of qualified candidates in the IT space is a concern to the entire industry and the one thing that Turner said he thinks about every day, from the time he gets up in the morning until he goes to bed at night. That concern is shared by Ballmer, who told students in a speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in March that while the company had just finished its best recruiting year ever—despite there being more competition—"getting the best people remains a big issue for us." Ballmer says Googles rapid staff growth was a "crazy" scenario. Click here to read why. "Im always thinking about how we can continue to develop and train our people, how we can improve their capabilities and get more people into the pipeline so they can grow and scale this. You saw the breadth of the [product] portfolio we have across the company, and its an awesome thing, but it is something that takes a lot of people to do," Turner said. Page 2: Hedge Funds Luring Away Prospective Microsoft Talent

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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