How one Miami company is hiring 100 people a month - and wants to continue
Close to 11,000 new jobs were created in South Florida last month. About 100 of those came from Kaseya, a technology network management company.
It’s probably best known for paying $117 million to put its name on the downtown arena where the Miami Heat play basketball. It also has ambitions to become a major employer, with plans to hire thousands of people over the next three years.
Those ambitions are backed by financial incentives.
The firm moved its headquarters to Brickell in 2018. Five years later it struck the largest single economic development incentive package supported by Miami-Dade County. The company will receive up to $4.56 million in incentives if it creates 3,400 full-time jobs paying an average of $107,000. It has three years to do it.
The incentive deal's codename was Project Xray when it was being negotiated and approved by Miami-Dade commissioners in February.
The company’s hiring binge comes as unemployment is at historic lows in Miami — below 2% in July. Yet, the guy responsible for recruiting these new employees is confident Kaseya can continue to find people.
Eric Lund, global head of recruiting, told WLRN the company puts an emphasis on a cultural fit, is willing to invest in training young and experienced workers and doesn’t necessarily require a college degree with the right experience.
“We really, really firmly believe in Miami and South Florida,” Lund said. “You find so many cultural ties to the similarities of what our core foundations are – grittiness and hard work.”
Kaseya also requires everyone to be in-office. Every day. "The people who we find who want to be there have way more opportunity to grow their career," he said.
WLRN’s Senior Economics Editor Tom Hudson spoke with Lund about Kaseya's plans for South Florida.
HUDSON: How would you describe the hiring environment today in Florida?
LUND: It's absolutely still a competitive market. I think you see a variety of things in different labor markets, but it's a very fast growing market. You see a lot of companies moving to South Florida, but it also creates some gaps. And so you really do have to be able to build your own talent to grow.
Tell me a little bit more about the gaps that have been created from the viewpoint of a prospective employer like Kaseya that's looking for people to fill jobs.
You see a lot of folks who are just starting their careers moving to South Florida. But they don't have the experience yet. They haven't been a leader yet or they're just learning some basic skills of business and how to navigate the business ecosystem and technology, specifically for us. How can we take somebody and teach them the skills? Do they have the right attitude, aptitude and baseline skill set that we can then up-skill them into that next role? Because Kaseya is a big believer in hiring the right cultural fit.
Kaseya has committed to creating 3,400 jobs in Miami over the next three years. How far along is the firm in fulfilling that commitment?
When I joined two years ago we had under 400 employees and now we're approaching 1,500 and continuing to grow every day. I think we're well on the way, but only accelerating at a faster pace. We added just last month over 100 new folks in South Florida.
Hiring at a pace of 100 people per month in this historically low unemployment rate environment — how long could that possibly go on?
We continue to find ways. You can't continue to look at the same talent pool. You have to really diversify your talent pool and not just keep going back to the same place.
So what are some of those areas you've identified?
It's not just requiring a college degree, a four-year college degree or master's degree program and saying, ‘Can we look at folks who have experience but maybe never got a degree or maybe got an associates degree?’ and really up-skilling those folks into roles.
KASEYA'S HIRING BINGE PLEDGE
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Not only are we hiring 100 people a month, we're 100% in-office. There's no hybrid.
The Brightline is really an additional transportation option in South Florida [that] has made it very viable for somebody to commute from Fort Lauderdale every day.
You mentioned you're 100% in-office. In this post-pandemic work from anywhere environment, is that a vulnerability in looking to keep a pace of hiring 100 people per month to fulfill that 3,400 job over a three year commitment?
The people who we find who want to be there have way more opportunity to grow their career. That can't be done from home, especially when you're looking at folks who maybe don't have all of the skills, but they have the right cultural fit. It has to be in an office to be able to hear the person next to you.
The best example [I have] is when I started my recruiting career 15 years ago. I always remember there were two people at the end of the cubicle. They weren't my boss. They weren't my managers. They weren't my mentors. But I heard what they said. And I absolutely learned so much just by being in an environment that I could never get from working from home. And that's so critical.
So, Eric, what kind of jobs are we talking about that you're recruiting for now?
We hire a lot of entry level tech sales and senior tech sales. We also hire software engineers, technical support engineers, marketing, finance, all of the HR [team] – everything you'd expect that we need in a large organization.
The tech sector has been one of the places where layoffs have been concentrated over the past year-and-a-half as the COVID virus concerns have been lifting. With that in mind, how have those layoffs affected your recruitment pool?
A lot of the folks who are getting laid off are in the back-office. It's either in talent acquisition, HR, [and] marketing. And we have absolutely grabbed some of them and brought them to our organization.
How anchored are these jobs to South Florida? Could they be moved, for instance, as Kaseya moved its headquarters to Miami?
We really, really firmly believe in Miami and South Florida. You find so many cultural ties to the similarities of what our core foundations are – grittiness and hard work. One area that we find [in Miami] is a lot of the first generation Americans or first generation in South Florida. It's a very unique place for that.
I want to ask you about another big trend in technology, and that's artificial intelligence. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study identified Miami as one of the most vulnerable job markets to losing work to AI in the future. How could AI affect Kaseya’s hiring plans?
I think it will actually increase it. How can we leverage that type of technology? How it can help marketing and some of the creative [departments] can, for us, accelerate the ability to do things.