America's most-enticing startups need more people - lots and lots of them.
The 50 companies on the just-released LinkedIn Top Startups list in the U.S. have a whopping 3,069 open jobs, a reflection not only of their ambitions and expansion plans but also an ever-tightening national labor market, with more positions going unfilled.
Every company on the list is hiring, some vastly more so than others. Roles exist in both major U.S. cities (San Francisco tops the list with 633 open positions) and small towns across the country, such as Groveport, Ohio, a 5,500-resident suburb of Columbus, which lays claim to just one position: a customer experience specialist role at Enjoy (#38), the tech-assistance startup founded by former Apple and JCPenney executive Ron Johnson.
Lyft (#1) has the most open positions, with 450 active job listings. Meanwhile, the startup with the fewest jobs is Skift (#40), the travel news and research company, with one position at the moment: a staff writer for Skift Table, its dining vertical.
Experts note: The process for getting hired at a startup differs wildly from a megacorp. "At a startup, oftentimes they don't even know what the job title is because they are growing at such a rapid pace," says Dawn Fay, district president at Robert Half, a staffing firm that frequently works with startups. What hiring managers want to see, she says, is proof someone can thrive in a chaotic environment "as opposed to, 'I just did A,B and C because that was my job.'"
So, say you're ready for startup life. You want a job at one of these buzzy companies. What's the best path in right now? Which roles are most common? Who's hiring - and where?
To answer those questions, we analyzed the public job listings for each company, using both LinkedIn data and each company's own careers site. We noted the title, location and function for each role. If a company planned to hire multiple people for a position, but posted the job only once, we treated that as a single job. If a job had more than one city listed as its location, we categorized it as such.
Through this process, we've sifted through 75 pages of spreadsheets, read far too many job descriptions - yes, we now know what a "sensory technologist associate" does - and stared at pivot tables until our contact lenses blurred. Alas, we have answers.
A data-backed guide to landing a Top Startups job:
The best way to get a job at a Top Startup? Learn to build or code. Little surprise here: More open jobs exist in engineering at the Top Startups than any other category. More than 900 engineering jobs exist at the Top Startups, three times as many as the next most-popular category: operations. Even data science, that red-hot field, shows only a few dozen open jobs across the list, easily outmatched by engineering. Here, it's worth pointing out a divergence with the LinkedIn Top Companies list released earlier this year- among the bigger, more established Top Companies, sales jobs made up the bulk of the roles; with the smaller, fast-growing startups, jobs are concentrated among those helping to develop future products.
The single most-pervasive job in startupland: a software engineer. The job title most prevalent across the list - that is, the title that exists at the greatest number of companies, even those outside of tech - is software engineer. Nearly half of the companies on the list are actively hiring these engineers, the data shows. Lyft has the most job postings for software engineers, followed by Zoox (#21), the robotics company focused on self-driving cars.
But! A reason to consider operational roles: The jobs are everywhere. Aside from engineering, no job function is more geographically dispersed, the data shows, than operations, a catch-all function that includes everyone from managers overseeing day-to-day business to "customer success," a growing (if ill-defined) category of jobs. Startups are hiring for customer success and customer service roles in 70 different cities, for example: from Lincoln, Neb. - where HR insights provider Glint (#41), wants a customer-success manager - to Austin, home to a customer-experience associate role at athletic apparel maker Outdoor Voices (#43). Scooter startup Bird (#5), meanwhile, is hiring community managers in a dozen different cities, including Minneapolis, Chicago and Denver.
The city with the most Top Startups jobs: "anywhere." The most-common location for jobs among the Top Startups, behind San Francisco, is "remote" or "multiple." Companies such as ice cream brand Halo Top (#2) and software firms InVision (#19) and Aha! (#23) maintain all-remote workforces, while those in competitive fields - like the autonomous driving startup Argo.ai (#17) - list a handful of possible cities for many jobs. Argo, for example, wants to hire a senior software engineer with machine learning and computer vision skills; it's willing to allow this person to work in its home base of Pittsburgh, or southeast Michigan, or San Francisco, or Princeton, N.J.
Other popular cities for jobs: New York (274 jobs); Palo Alto (149); Seattle (146). Still, the work isn't clustered on the coasts: Top Startups are also hiring in places such as Austin (40 jobs); Nashville, Tenn. (34); and Phoenix (31).
The titles so specific, they show up only once: While many roles are common across the companies, there are also plenty of one-of-a-kind positions, those that appear only a single time across the list. There's just one opening for a farm manager at Plenty (#34), the hydroponic grower; one city launcher for Bird; one data annotator for the autonomous driving startup Drive.ai (#35)
A final word of advice: If your ideal job doesn't exist at a startup yet, you may be able to create it. Shoe company Allbirds (#29) has a spot for candidates to apply for their "Dream Job" on its site, while ConsenSys (#26), an incubator for blockchain companies, lists an "Open Application." Luggage maker Away (#30) goes further and keeps an open role for "Name Your Job."