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New Yorkers found queuing patiently for bubble economy jobs

But decent staff can't be found

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New Yorkers were queuing round the block for jobs in the bubble economy this week.

The assembled hordes waited patiently to get into the packed first Ultimate Silicon Alley Career Fair this week, an event organisers plan to take around the US over the next 12 months.

Held in Bryant Park, it attracted Big Apple-based dotcom exhibitors such as Screaming Media, Mail.com and DoubleClick. But despite the huge turnout, all companies had one common complaint - they just cannot get enough decent staff.

Workers on the Mail.com stand said they had collected around 50 CVs in two hours from eager young hopefuls, but maintained there was a huge skills shortage in the city. The company has been forced to start an employee referral programme, which pays staff a $3,000 bonus for every friend they recommend that gets a job.

According to Mail.com, 43 per cent of hiring comes from this scheme.

It was a similar story at DoubleClick, which had collected around 200 CVs. Skilled hi-tech workers are like gold dust, but even finding sales people with Internet experience is difficult, a representative claimed.

They were banking on the recent spate of dotcom casualties to throw a few fresh faces onto the market, one added sheepishly.

Next stop Proxicom, where representatives said the company was refusing to surrender to the "exploding salaries" in the dotcom world, and was re-tooling internally.

"There is the lure of money and shares when working for dotcoms, but the culture of a company also tends to draw and keep a lot of people," said one.

Most of the new media types at the careers fair said their companies had a relaxed culture and no strict dress code. They also said the average age of staff was still under 30. ®

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