Tech Jobs Trends: Signaling a Period of Sustainable Innovation?

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According to Bloomberg, many of the largest technology companies increased employment by more than half in the most recently reported two-year period. Some small and mid-sized technology companies increased their payroll almost fivefold.

This rapid hiring underscores "the resilient demand for Internet services, software and electronics," says Bloomberg.

Indeed, it also underscores the economic issues facing the original "big money" industry of banking. High-powered big-money positions are no longer the big draw of the banking industry -- many intellectuals are finding that technology careers are just as promising.

What's more, those enticing banking positions aren't as prevalent as they used to be. Why choose a risky company that is continually cutting corners and cutting jobs when you can choose a young and innovative industry that is growing?

Apparently Google and Amazon are two of the top employers for graduates of Columbia, according to Associate Dean Regina Resnick (via Bloomberg). The percentage of Columbia's graduate students taking jobs in technology has grown from 6% in 2009 to 9% in 2011.

Employment
"In the software and services industry, 74 companies with more than $100 million in market value expanded their workforce by at least 10 percent. That was more than any other industry group measured by Bloomberg."

Tech companies are still hiring, and showing no signs of slowing down. Many companies, including Amazon and Facebook, which will release its IPO sometime next week, have announced plans to hire thousands more in 2012, many in satellite offices.

Of course, many are now reminded of the dot-com bubble in 2000, which left many tech-savy workers without a job. "I can't help but think I've seen this movie before," says Stuart MacDonald, chief marketing and revenue officer at Freshbooks.com.

Business section: Investing ideas
So, which high-growth tech companies are worth a closer look?

For ideas, we collected data on insider transactions and identified a list of high-growth tech stocks that have seen significant insider buying over the last six months.

Theoretically, insiders know more about their companies than anyone else. So if they're using their own cash to buy the shares of their employers, you'd better pay close attention.

Insider executives are optimistic on the outlook of these companies and the overall tech industry -- do you agree?

List sorted by market cap. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Aruba Networks (NAS: ARUN) : Provides distributed enterprise networks that securely connect local and remote users to corporate information technology resources worldwide. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 24.66% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 444,930 shares, which represents about 0.44% of the company's 100.38M share float.

2. Universal Display (NAS: PANL) : Engages in the research, development, and commercialization of organic light emitting diode technologies and materials for use in flat panel display, solid-state lighting, and other product applications. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 24.50% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 406,907 shares, which represents about 1.3% of the company's 31.41M share float.

3. PROS Holdings: Provides pricing and margin optimization software worldwide. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 25% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 8,500 shares, which represents about 0.04% of the company's 19.95M share float.

4. ShoreTel: Provides Internet protocol telecommunications systems for enterprises in the United States. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 22.50% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 112,509 shares, which represents about 0.27% of the company's 41.06M share float.

5. CIBER: Operates as an information technology consulting, services, and outsourcing company worldwide. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 27% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 50,000 shares, which represents about 0.08% of the company's 64.82M share float.

6. 8x8 (NAS: EGHT) : Develops and markets telecommunications services for Internet protocol, telephony, and video applications, as well as provides Web-based conferencing and unified communications services. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 26.25% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 12,395 shares, which represents about 0.02% of the company's 56.07M share float.

7. American Superconductor (NAS: AMSC) : Provides wind turbine designs and electrical control systems primarily in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 35% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 938,000 shares, which represents about 2.42% of the company's 38.81M share float.

8. The KEYW Holding: Provides mission-critical cybersecurity and cyber superiority solutions to defense, intelligence, and national security agencies in the United States. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 25% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 130,417 shares, which represents about 0.66% of the company's 19.77M share float.

9. NeoPhotonics: Engages in the design and manufacture of photonic integrated circuit based modules and subsystems for bandwidth-intensive, high-speed communications networks. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 52% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 6,000 shares, which represents about 0.04% of the company's 16.10M share float.

10. Numerex (NAS: NMRX) : Provides business services, technology, and products used in the development and support of machine-to-machine solutions for the enterprise and government markets worldwide. Wall Street analysts project the company's earnings to grow annually by 22.50% over the next five years. Over the last six months, insiders were net buyers of 5,000 shares, which represents about 0.06% of the company's 7.95M share float

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA. Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Amazon.com, and Universal Display. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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