Incidentally, the one Burgh tech company that did contact me got back to me more than two months after I first inquired with them. Most of the Pittsburgh companies I applied to didn’t even bother to acknowledge that they had received my resumé. With Amazon.com, the total elapsed time between my first contact and an offer on paper was 29 days. Are there any good engineers left by the time the Pittsburgh companies get around to talking to them?
Politicians and arm chair analysts talk a lot about Pittsburgh's so-called brain drain. As Jefferson points out later in his post, people come, people go; it's the American way of life. Brain drain isn't the right metaphor for what Jefferson describes.
Instead, his post goes anecdotally to a different part of the economic development puzzle: Jobs.
Lots of people, me occasionally included, claim that the key to stabilizing Pittsburgh's economic climate is growing the number of new jobs here. If we have employment, the argument goes, then people will stay, and people will come. The next step in the argument is often to blame government, and high taxes in particular, for stagnation in the job market. Job growth is a structural problem, not a personal one.
Is that wrong? If taxes fall, will jobs burst forth and local firms fall over themselves striving to fill them? Judging anecdotally, there's no evidence of that. As it stands, the people who already have jobs in Pittsburgh seem perfectly happy to ignore those that don't. I've heard from other job seekers locally, both on the blog and one-on-one, that too many Pittsburgh employers post open jobs, then turn into black holes for resumes. Failure to respond to applicant interest in a position isn't just rude (though it is obviously rude); it's lazy; and it's stupid. It's bad advertising -- bad for the company and bad for Pittsburgh. It sends a message: We care about us, not about you.
This puts the lie, I think, to the most famous and durable of Pittsburgh stereotypes, that this town and region are noteworthy for their honesty and work ethic. If you have a job, that stereotype certainly seems to fit -- but a big part of that job seems to be keeping it intact, and keeping others at arms' length. Is there a "Not Welcome" sign posted in the region's employment markets? It sure seems that way.
Put another way, who in Pittsburgh is running with this ball -- in the other (and more productive) direction?