We’ve all seen the headlines. The Big Tech pandemic hiring boom has come to a crashing halt, with top companies like Meta and Amazon shedding tens of thousands of workers apiece. It seems like an absolute bloodbath out there.
Except it’s not.
Despite all the well-publicized tech layoffs at the top of the pyramid, job numbers have remained surprisingly robust in the sector as a whole. This raises the question: Do average tech workers have anything to fear? The answer is complicated, but in simple terms — no.
Entry-level tech workers can expect some resistance to landing their first job. Mid- and senior-level employees can count on a smoother ride. The important thing to keep in mind when riding out the current wave of tech layoffs is flexibility. It might be your dream to work as a software developer for a FAANG company, but in the meantime, there are plenty of great roles in industries like health care and defense.
Layoffs due to overhiring in the tech field
The current round of tech layoffs has less to do with a softening economy and more to do with massive overhiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter stands out as the main exception here. Elon Musk’s takeover and head-scratching management style are largely behind the roughly 50% force reduction that made headlines last month.
However, despite Meta and Amazon’s recent 11,000-person and 10,000-person tech layoffs, job postings for tech workers are up by 25% this year. This makes a lot more sense once you dig into the numbers. For example, Amazon basically doubled its workforce over the pandemic. Those 10,000 jobs represent less than 1% of its total staff.
Similar hiring booms took place across a range of tech companies as the pandemic caused the consumption of digital services to soar. From Google to Peloton, tech-focused companies hoovered up more talent than they needed. With so much cheap money flooding the system and consumer demand skyrocketing, no one wanted to be caught flat-footed.
What we’re seeing now is not a full-fledged implosion. The recent layoffs represent a retrenchment and resizing. Demand remains strong for tech workers, although you may need to broaden your job search to land the job you’ve been after.
Demand hasn’t disappeared
Job postings for tech workers are up. Unemployment in the tech field dipped to 2.1% in September of this year. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of economics can tell you it doesn’t get much better than this.
In recent months, demand for tech workers has shifted. With Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon no longer on bonanza hiring sprees, small and midsized tech companies have stepped up to poach top talent. However, much of the recent growth in hiring has come from nontech companies.
In the digital era, no organization, regardless of its size or mission, can afford to ignore its digital footprint. From the Department of Defense to Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola to your local school district, businesses, nonprofits, and government bodies are hurting for competent tech workers. While they may not offer eye-watering salaries or brag-worthy perks, many of these jobs pay well and provide solid career growth opportunities.
What does the hiring field look like for entry-, mid-, and senior-level tech workers?
While hiring remains strong across the board, it gets easier the higher up you go. While this is true of most industries, the tech field’s notoriously high salaries have led to an influx of entry-level job seekers. All this competition has pushed up standards and made it harder to get a foot in the door compared to even just five years ago.
Mid- and senior-level workers continue to enjoy a robust job market. It’s lonely at the top. The harsh reality of the tech world is that many workers don’t make it past their first few jobs. Many entry-level tech workers branch out, make a lateral move into an adjacent industry like tech sales or leave the industry entirely after a year or two. For those who stick it out, the rewards include a red-hot labor market and fantastic stability.
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