Who's hiring: Tech jobs abound in hot Tampa Bay Area market

It’s a good time to be job hunting in the Tampa Bay Area. As businesses return to more normal practices after COVID-19, job postings and wages are up. And the tech market, particularly the cybersecurity sector, is offering plenty of opportunities to jobseekers in the coming months.

“Right now it’s a very, very hot market,” says Chad Leibundguth, the Tampa-based director of Robert Half International’s Florida/Louisiana district. “We have more jobs than we have people to fill those roles.”

The trend has been intensifying. “It seems that, as the year has gone on, every month has gotten busier,” he adds. “It’s becoming harder and harder to find the right person to fit the opening.”

There is still some caution lingering as employers gravitate away from remote jobs into more on-site or on-site/remote positions. 

“We’re not seeing individuals coming back into the workforce as quickly as we would hope,” says Sheila Rios, Hillsborough Community College’s Dean in Associate in Science and Technical Programs in Ybor City.

“The jobseekers are looking for a certain type of pay benefits,” explains Kay Jefferson, director of Business Services at CareerSource Tampa Bay. “Employers are being very picky.”

To fill positions, employers appear more willing to train those without experience. “Everybody is taking baby steps,” she adds. “The baby steps are getting bigger.”

In Hillsborough County, unique job postings in April totaled more than 93,000, more than double those posted in May 2020, according to a Job Posting Analytics report from CareerSource Tampa Bay. Roughly half weren’t listing educational or experience requirements in April; in May more employers were asking for experience, Jefferson says. 

Hot job sectors include healthcare, manufacturing, construction and real estate, Leibundguth says. Hot jobs are in accounting, customer support, administration and technology.

The Menlo Park, CA-based Robert Half, which was among the companies posting the most jobs in Hillsborough County during April, works with jobseekers on a fee-less basis to line up temporary, contract, and full-time work, with employers picking up the tab. The staffing agency specializes in accounting and finance, administration and customer support, technology, creative and marketing, and legal.

Wages have risen to meet market demand. For example, customer service positions have climbed from around $14 an hour a year ago to around $17-$18, Leibundguth points out.

Cybersecurity sector heating up

With announcements earlier this year from ID.me and OPSWAT, the cybersecurity industry holds promise for opportunities into the forseeable future. 

The McLean, VA-based ID.me, which helps people prove their identity online, was listing 16 jobs Friday in Tampa, including IT, training, customer support, quality assurance and office roles, at https://www.id.me/careers. It announced the opening of its Tampa office in May, along with plans to hire 500+ team members here by the end of the year.

OPSWAT announced in January it had moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa and planned to add 100 jobs locally during the next three years to support its global expansion. There were some 36 current openings at the Tampa office, designated as the company’s East Coast hub, listed on OPSWAT’s website Friday. The move follows the acquisition of the Tampa-based cybersecurity company Impulse in late 2019.

“As a global organization, we are hiring across various positions to assist us in helping our clients protect the world’s most critical infrastructure from zero-day and cyberattacks,” Stephanie Breslin, OPSWAT Director of Human Resources and People Operations, Americas, says in a written statement.

ReliaQuest is doubling its staff

The Tampa-based cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest is looking to double its global staff of 600 in the next 18 months, says Isabel Dominicis Dewey, its senior vice president of people. While not all of those jobs will be in Tampa, there isn’t a cap on the number that will be hired here.

“Our sales team is based on the region they cover. For every other role we’re pretty location agnostic. We are looking in Tampa. We are looking in Salt Lake [City]. We are looking in Dublin. It really depends on where we can find the talent.”

Local employees would work on site, either at the company’s Harbour Island or Westshore location, but some may be able to work at home some days, she says.

The company currently employs about 300 in Tampa and is expanding its staff to meet the needs of a growing customer base as well as to broaden its software functionality. 

ReliaQuest is looking to grow its product team, which includes software engineers, product managers, and user experience designers by 150. They also are looking for about 300 in security operations, 100 in sales and 50 in other roles like recruitment, and finances and training.

The software engineering and security analyst positions are “evergreen,” she says.

“We are always hiring and growing,” she explains.

While many roles require a four-year degree, there are opportunities for those who are capable and self-taught. The company also offers a cybersecurity certification program to University of South Florida students.

“We usually do have some baseline technical requirement. They need to have a foundation and understanding of the space that they’re in,” she explains. “In terms of how to do the job at ReliaQuest, we very much teach to that.”

The company is hiring now for its July onboarding class to begin on the 6th.

She says ReliaQuest offers “highly paid competitive” jobs with full benefits including a retirement account and paid time off.  She prefers to remain vague on pay scales.

“There’s been a tremendous growth in compensation in the past year,” she says. “The number I could give you may be different next month.”

As was true for many tech companies, not even COVID-19 slowed growth. ReliaQuest simply stopped bringing all new hires initially to Tampa -- and made its onboarding virtual.

“We actually never stopped hiring,” she says.

Dewey sees Tampa Bay as an emerging cybersecurity hub.

“I’m optimistic that companies like ReliaQuest will help the maturity of the cyber ecosystem locally,” she adds.

CrossBorder Solutions hiring in St. Petersburg

CrossBorder Solutions, which opened in St. Petersburg about a year ago, is in hiring mode after moving its headquarters from New York City to St. Petersburg in March. The company, which is experiencing “hypergrowth,” is hoping to employ between 200 to 300 people by the end of the year, says Carlee Wendell, deputy chief of Staff of Communications.

The company already employs more than 400 companywide.

CrossBorder Solutions offers multi-national companies an artificial intelligence solution to managing complex tax requirements: Fiona, who Wendell describes as the “heartbeat of our software.”  

Many of the positions are sales-related, with roles available for different experience levels. There is no minimum education requirement for the entry level professional; base bay for entry-level sales is $50,000 annually plus commission and eligibility for a comprehensive benefits package, she says.

 “We provide an extensive amount of sales training. There’s an opportunity to move into our advanced sales roles,” Wendell says.

The company is also hiring sales managers, professional services associates in finance or economics, and hiring-acquisition partners. The actual hiring process is mainly remote, but jobs will be on-site in St. Petersburg.

CrossBorder Solutions moved its headquarters here for a variety of reasons, she says, among them the welcoming Tampa Bay tech community and Florida business climate.

“We want to be where the best talent pool is,” she explains. “Ultimately, we found it’s a very good place to help our company scale. And we think a lot of other companies have found the same.”

Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune
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