Victims of Big Tech layoffs find other companies clamoring to hire them

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“It was the first time I was laid off,” says Grace Ann Baker, the former director of product management at a social media company. Baker wasn’t alone, after all. New owner Elon Musk ended up letting go of nearly his two-thirds of the 7,500 employees he took over at the troubled company. And in the coming weeks and months, this trend continued across the broader technology sector. As fast as tech companies hired employees during the pandemic, they quickly laid them off as the economy slowed.

Amazon laid off more than 18,000 people. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has 12,000. 11,000 in Facebook’s parent meta. Microsoft has 10,000. Smaller companies have also scaled back, with layoffs announced at payment provider Stripe, online video hosting service Vimeo, and online shop Stitch Fix.

Legions of tech workers who were once in demand and were rewarded with generous salaries and generous perks and bonuses suddenly began looking for work and were accustomed to having to update their resumes and wait to hear from recruiters. I was put in a position where I could not.

But instead of struggling to find a new job, many are finding their skills are still a hot commodity. Some had a hard time attracting tech talent during the boom, due to poor reputations and low wages, but now that the tech industry is in recession, it’s scooping up unemployed software engineers and web designers. .

Those non-technical employers? Think sectors such as healthcare, finance, and government. They offer more stability and, in some cases, the opportunity to join a huge technical team built over the years.

Walmart currently has over 20,000 engineers, UX specialists and data scientists working in key areas from e-commerce to information security. “This is an exciting time for retail tech,” says a company spokesperson in unabashed recruiter mode.

Even at financial services giant JP Morgan Chase, which already employs 55,000 tech workers worldwide, executives are optimistic about attracting and retaining the tech talent they have. Lori Beer, Global Chief Information Officer, JP Morgan, said: luck on mail. “Today’s candidates have fewer competing offers.”

The contrasting reality of the tech industry and other industries boils down to the number of layoffs. In 2022, the tech company laid off more than 97,000 of his employees. That represents a 649% increase for him from cuts in the sector a year earlier, according to outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Meanwhile, employers across all industries combined cut about 364,000 jobs, a meager 13% increase in overall reductions from the previous year. (Excluding technology, overall layoffs are actually down from the previous year.)

In fact, despite the current economic uncertainty, the US economy as a whole added 223,000 jobs in December alone, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In other words, the job market is still healthy, not the tech sector.

There are many reasons why the orbits are different. During good times, many tech companies continued to hire heavily, especially during the pandemic, to meet the surge in demand from consumers and businesses stuck in lockdowns.

“There are jobs out there, and most people I know are finding jobs.”

Grace-Ann Baker, Former Twitter Employee

Now, with pandemic precautions largely abandoned and the economy reeling from recent interest rate hikes, tech executives are cutting costs by losing jobs.

Layoffs are a rare opportunity, even for governments that previously struggled to attract engineers. “I have received word that they are looking for a person.

VA currently has over 700 open vacancies for technology workers, including cloud infrastructure and cybersecurity teams. According to DelBene, there has been a significant increase in the number of inbound inquiries coming through LinkedIn and others. He also has “hundreds” of leads from a recent virtual his job fair hosted by VA.

“We are the largest healthcare provider and largest financial institution in the United States,” says DelBene. “Do you want to go where there are problems that are really hard to solve? That’s the organization we run.”

Indeed, historically, government jobs have not paid as well as the private sector, even for technical talent. DelBene said that in the Washington, D.C. area, the gap between what an engineer makes in his VA and what he makes at a tech company is as high as 66%. However, the VA and other federal agencies have lobbied the government to allow “special pay rates” for certain jobs. So far it seems to be working. In January, changes were approved for certain technical positions. “I want this place to be the best. [for tech employees] Working for the federal government,” says DelBene.

There is another type of organization that is attracting laid-off tech talent. They’re big companies, but their low profile can make it harder to compete with names and talents buzzing on social media and fintech. “We hear a lot of interest in things like Intuit and Adobe,” said Jana Rich, founder and CEO of executive recruiting firm Rich Talent Group, a tax software maker and , refers to the company behind tech tools such as Photoshop. “These companies are very well run, profitable, high growth, high retention, as well as continuously evolving business models. You will get promoted.”

Is there one area that doesn’t seem to get much attention from the laid-off crowd? Early stage startups. It makes sense: According to Rich, today’s candidates are concerned with the company’s financial health and viability. Young startups don’t have much of a track record to begin with. But if new funding is needed anytime soon, there may be no future. The economic downturn has significantly slowed venture capital for emerging technology companies.

Graph shows tech job cuts announced since 2010

Of course, not everyone is in a rush to land a new gig, as the retirement packages most tech companies offer laid-off employees are relatively affordable. For example, at business software giant Salesforce, her recently laid off 8,000 employees were promised five months’ salary and health insurance. Meta says he will be offered 16 weeks of salary and benefits, with an additional two weeks added for each year he works for the company.

Certainly, these packages soften the blow of layoffs, as does the fact that techs are still in high demand in various areas. But being laid off is no fun, and some out-of-work employees worry that as the economy deteriorates, other industries will similarly contract in the coming months.

“Emotionally, I was bracing myself for it,” says a former DoorDash tech employee who didn’t want to be mentioned by name. announced layoffs of 1,250 employees, equivalent to 1,250%). Weeks after the layoff, the former employee says he’s still taking his time deciding on his next steps. exists.

As for Baker, who was once on Twitter, her reaction to being fired, or at least one of the emotions she felt, was a relief given all the turmoil at the company during the Musk takeover. There was also a sense of camaraderie, given that there are many others who have gone through similar experiences. She’s taking her time finding a place she wants to work, but she’s optimistic given that she’s already interested and has been interviewed. “There are jobs out there, and most people I know have found jobs,” says Baker, whose resume includes tech giants such as Cisco and Google.

What is her next role and company? It’s still undecided. She said on Twitter that after three years of working, she’s sure of one thing.


country of layoffs

Tech companies large and small have laid off employees in recent months. Here are some of them, and the number of jobs they’ve cut:







door dash


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carbon health

Only the first round of Twitter layoffs are included.

This article appeared in the February/March 2023 issue. luck Under the headline, “Technology jobs are overhauled.”


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