If you’ve read about the current state of the technology industry in traditional media reports, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the industry is teetering on an abyss and about to plunge into the inky abyss.
The truth, however, is a bit more nuanced. While sites like layoffs.fyi, which tracks tech layoffs, report that about 616 tech companies have laid off 184,101 workers so far this year, those layoffs should be seen in a broader context.
Gartner’s Mbula Schoen, a senior director analyst, said in a recent blog postGartner research has found that the companies behind the 10 largest technology talent layoffs still employ more than 150,000 more people overall than at the start of 2020.
Without prejudice to the impact this has had on those who have lost their jobs, layoffs generally do not occur because companies go bankrupt.
Rather, they are happening due to a number of factors, including over-hiring during the pandemic and corrections around it, broader economic factors, inflation and higher interest rates, as well as cost cutting.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, also states that“Layoffs are basically an example of social contagion, where companies imitate what others are doing.”
What muddles the waters further is the fact that many of the functions that have become obsolete are not technical functions, for example coding, machine learning or data scientists.
“Contrary to what we see in the headlines, many of those affected by layoffs are in corporate roles, rather than technical roles,” says Schoen.
Roger Lee, founder of Layoffs.fyi, agrees. “Sales is the most common role, accounting for 20% of technical workers laid off. Recruiting and HR are the functions most disproportionately affected relative to their size; it is increasingly common for companies to lay off 50% or more of their talent teams.”
Layoffs and a talent crisis
As a result, we find ourselves in an environment where thousands of people at technology companies are losing their jobs – yet employers are experiencing a talent shortage; difficulty in fulfilling specific roles.
A survey of recently laid off employees repeated this demand. It found that those who were fired were quickly rehired elsewhere. About 79% of employees recently hired after a layoff or termination from a technology company found a new job within three months of starting their search.
In another 2022 study, Gartner confirmed that there is a skills shortage, with 86% of CIOs saying they experience more competition for qualified candidates, and 73% are concerned about IT talent turnover.
Because there simply isn’t a large pool of tech talent active in the job market, there are therefore a number of sought-after, in-demand skills such as web development, DevOps and database software, according to Statista data. Those skills are closely followed by AI and ML, mobile development, cloud computing and UI/UX.
The European Software Skills Alliance (ESSA) said in its 2021 Analysis report required dat: “There is a shift to new types of developers, such as full stack developers and low code developers, but the most important insight is that developers are increasingly becoming part of the regular organization instead of a separate entity. Soft skills and knowledge of the business are therefore increasingly important for developers to function.”
ESSA also identified gaps in data analytics skills and said the main areas impacting software skills are AI, Big Data, Industry 4.0 and modeling, particularly in research.
If you’re looking for a data job, Amsterdam-based RevoData BV seeks the unusual title of Data Revolutionist to become the company’s data and AI champion and work as part of a highly talented, digital-native team on developing revolutionary data and AI solutions with DataBricks.
The AI field also needs more talent. People with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) skills that meet the demands of Internet of Things companies, the metaverse and Industry 4.0 are particularly in demand.
Those with machine learning skills should check out this role at Apple in Berlin. The Machine Learning High-Performance C++ Software Engineer works on complex problems in computer vision that require robust, efficient, well-tested and clean solutions.
Even more jobs will be created as an entirely new breed of startups is launched. In what could be a symptom of big tech layoffs, startup accelerator Y Combinator said its application volume increased by 20% in 2022 and it received more than 38,000 applications in total. This means exciting new career opportunities lie ahead.
Do you want a new job in an emerging field? Discover thousands of employers actively recruiting on the House of Talent Job Board