My feeling is that there ARE experienced, skilled people out there and companies are not located where these people are. For myself, jobs are everywhere in and just outside the Philadelphia area. However, getting to those areas from an hour away is a true hardship. There are no roads built for fast, safe, affordable (tolls) access from the outer suburbs and rural areas and the trains are not dependable due to weather. For parents who do not wish to be 2 hours commute from their children, who may have an emergency to tend to, a commute like this is a factor in choosing employment.
What amazes me the most is that despite how technical and advanced these companies claim to be, most of them will not consider telecommuting positions. Today's technology via software, networking, etc. makes it very easy to be "in the office" from home.
I would challenge those employers to look harder, open their minds and change their policies to include men and women, parents, and those over the age of 30.
Creative Design and User Experience
After engineers, the biggest challenge for companies is finding high-quality creative design and user-experience talent. Since almost every company is trying to create a highly compelling user experience that keeps people engaged with their product, it is tough to find people who have this type of experience (especially with mobile devices including tablets) and a demonstrated track record of success.
It is always helpful for an early-stage company to hire someone who has very relevant and specific experience in your industry. This is especially true for product management, since the person in this role will interface with customers and define the product strategy and use cases. However, be prepared, as it will be a challenge to find people with experience in these high-growth industries: consumer web, e-commerce, mobile, software as a service, and cloud computing.
I'm not talking about old-school marketing communications. Companies are looking for expert online marketers who know how to create a buzz of inbound marketing or viral traffic through the web, social media, and content discovery. Writing a good press release just doesn't cut it anymore, as everyone is looking for the savvy online marketing professional who understands how the current state of the web operates and knows how to make it work to their benefit.
Since data is becoming more and more accessible, smart companies are increasingly making decisions driven by metrics. Analytics is becoming a central hub across companies where everything (web, marketing, sales, operations) is being measured and each decision is supported by data. Thus, we are seeing a high level of demand for analytics and business intelligence professionals who almost act like internal consultants; they help determine what should be measured and then build out the capability for a company.