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Conversation With A Minneapolis Head Of Product: Yes, Product Owners Are In Demand In Minneapolis And St Paul

Product Owner In Demand

Earlier this week I had a catch up call with Head of Product at a SaaS group here in the Twin Cities. After catching up on Gopher football, New Year’s resolutions and themes, Q4 ’19 hiring trends and 2020 hiring plans… there was an awkward pause by them. Then an exhale. And then:

“Why is it do damn hard to build a Product team in our town?”

I feel your pain.

Indeed… finding Product Owners, Product Managers, Product Designers and similar Product titles is difficult.

Check that, not difficult to find. Difficult to recruit. Difficult to get them to move.

Here are some of the why’s:

  • “Product” is still a relatively new term and job in our town compared to the Bay Area. The supply is “low”.
  • Most companies need to add senior members to the team before they can add junior or intermediate members.
  • With the “newness” and lower number of senior product pros… the region has not developed, grown the size of the community at large as big as we need it.
  • With demand, salaries have gone up and most companies have been slow to adjust.
  • Most companies are doing an awful job of telling the story of the super cool, fun and amazing things their Product teams are doing. There are legit, really cool things going on in our companies that no one knows about.

Today I came across this LinkedIn report => 2020 Search and Staffing U.S. Emerging Jobs Report

They list the Top 15 emerging jobs in the U.S. and where they are located. Here is the list:

  1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
  2. Robotics Engineer
  3. Data Scientist
  4. Full Stack Engineer
  5. Site Reliability Engineer
  6. Customer Success Specialist
  7. Sales Development Representative
  8. Data Engineer
  9. Behavior Health Technician
  10. Cybersecurity Engineer
  11. Back End Developer
  12. Chief Revenue Officer
  13. Cloud Engineer
  14. JavaScript Developer
  15. Product Owner

Based on how they did their survey I am not shocked that we are not listed on the first 14 roles.

Minneapolis is listed on Product Owner and at #3 only behind New York and Boston.

I am not shocked by this either. Between the startup community, Fortune 500 companies and all those between… the number of those in our town doing the job, the number of open jobs and the growth of the role in the past 5 years is quite high. If you look at the graph above… all of the industries listed are ones with a significant presence here in the region. So opportunity and demand is indeed high.

What to do if you are the Head of Product at a company in town and struggling to grow your team? A few ideas:

  • The Product community in the Twin Cities is not as strong as it will (should) be. Be a leader. Be a connector
  • Build relationships
  • Host events at your company
  • Promote your team on your and company social media accounts
  • Speak at events
  • Sponsor events

I get those things are not “breaking news”.  Yes, they are obvious things to do.

Now think about it… how many product leaders and companies are doing them?

There is opportunity here to grow your brand and be a leader.

If you’re a Head/VP/Director of Product or startup CEO and want to talk about who/how to recruit… send me a note.

If you’re in the Product space and want to learn more about the community and/or cool places to work… send me a note.

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Nice Article...Very interesting to read this article. I have learned some new information.thanks for sharing.

Annie -612-385-7749

I have worked a great deal in this space. Definitely two things immediately come to mind, first defining what type of talent is needed- they work with cross functional groups and often are key to mapping/launching/& working with R&D on new products; second & most importantly is you need to know who & where they are in town. I am always happy to network! Annie 😊

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