John Zink, president of IT Avalon.
When the pandemic closed offices across the country last year, a segment of workers that likely felt right at home working from home were information technology professionals.
The rapid increase over the past 15 months in remote workers and businesses boosting their digital presence has made the demand for IT specialists greater than ever.
As a result, staffing agencies have seen a surge in demand from companies looking to fill their IT and software engineering needs.
Just ask IT Avalon, a Silicon Valley workforce firm that is moving its headquarters to Reno this summer. The company specializes in contract-to-hire and full-time IT staffing for large enterprise companies nationwide, said company president John Zink.
“We’ve grown 100% during the pandemic,” Zink said. “It was proven that people could work remotely. And all of a sudden, the managers saw that people could be as productive, if not more productive, working from home. So as soon as they figured that out, our clients were calling on us to find more people to work remotely.”
All the while, the WFH movement magnified cybersecurity threats for practically all businesses, and many scrambled to expand VPN and other remote-work capabilities. Consequently, many companies needed to increase IT staff to ensure employees are able to not only work efficiently from remote locations, but also do so safely.
After all, in Q2 of 2020, COVID-related cyberattack detections increased by a staggering 605% compared to Q1, according to a report by antivirus software company McAfee.
“All of a sudden, you’ve got all of these security concerns for all these people that are working remotely,” Zink said.
What’s more, Zink said many companies that watched their spending last year are now spending on major projects that require a boost in IT staff. As such, since the pandemic hit, IT Avalon has gone from placing candidates in about eight states to staffing IT professionals in roughly 20 states, he noted.
“Our clients said, ‘we don’t care where they live, as long as they have great internet and are available to work on our time zone,’” said Zink, noting the firm works with Northern Nevada-based companies like Caesars Entertainment and Renown Health, among others. “We can hire people to work for a California company or a Nevada company who lives in New York.
“We’re lucky to be in the space we’re in. I don’t see any slowdown in the next few years. There’s so much opportunity out there.”
Zink, who owns IT Avalon with his wife, Carisa, said they decided to relocate their business from the Bay Area to the Biggest Little City for a variety of reasons.
The Zinks own a second home in Stateline on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore and have been splitting time between the Silver and Golden states. During the pandemic, though, the Zinks realized it made more sense — from both business and quality of life perspectives — to stake their company’s headquarters in a region they preferred spending their time.
The couple recently sold their house in the Bay Area and bought a home in South Reno.
As for the business, IT Avalon is opening a 1,712-square-foot office at 470 E. Plumb Lane in Reno, expecting to open Aug 1.
“It is very welcoming to businesses, unlike California,” Zink said. “Of course, taxes are a huge difference. And there’s a huge amount of opportunity in Nevada — Nevada has grown like crazy. Plus, we’ll be able to open our office here for half the cost of what it costs to run an office in California.
“So, it’s a no-brainer.”
Before opening up shop in Reno, IT Avalon plans to hire six recruiters to work out of its new office.
The positions, Zink said, are 100% commission-based.
“We train them on how to become a technical recruiter,” said Zink. “And anybody who makes it through that training is going to make over $200,000 a year. So, it’s a huge opportunity.”