February 14, 2023


Tech layoffs have been making headlines lately for good reason.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has laid off 12,000, about 12% of its workforce. Facebook’s parent Meta has cut 11,000 employees from the roll, and IBM has laid off 3,900 employees, which is 1.5% of its global workforce.

All told, 1,045 tech companies will lay off 160,097 employees in 2022, and this year, 344 tech firms have already issued pink slips to 103,767 workers, according to

Worries over an impending recession – despite unemployment hitting a 50-year low of 3.4% – are contributing to the layoff frenzy. So there is a hangover from the pandemic. Yet another factor, according to some job market watchers, is the “Great Reboot.”

According to Business Insider, the Great Reboot is a response to management’s Great Resignation and “quiet leave”. It is taking strategic decisions, including layoffs and cuts in pay and allowances, to regain the strength lost to employees during the pandemic.

Pull-Back, Not Bossism

The Great Reboot has its doubters, though.

“What looks like ‘bossism’ or a perverse crackdown by tech management to help it in its place is likely a pull-back from over-hiring at the start of the pandemic,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow. Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization in Washington, D.C.

“Tech firms got way on their skis as the world piled on digital platforms and now need to pull back,” Muro told TechNewsWorld.

He explained that the tech sector is experiencing a real temporary slump and is being forced to correct past errors on the hiring front. Slow tech sales and high interest rates have put the whistle on unlimited hiring, at least for the time being.

“Companies are facing real market problems — not just trying to keep workers in their place,” Muro said, “though the time for unlimited perks and rising wages is definitely on hold.”

“It’s also important to recognize that Big Tech is a world of its own,” he said. “Much of the rest of the economy is still grappling with tight labor markets where workers are still heavily leveraged.”

conspicuous by its absence

However, as Gartner analyst Wade McDaniel pointed out in a recent blog, some companies have been better at managing the pandemic hangover than others.

“Many companies mentioned in the press say they went as far as spending or investing more in talent during the height of the pandemic,” he wrote. “Others say they are responding to changes in their business models.”

“But one company in particular is missing from the press coverage of the layoffs: Apple,” he continued. “They experienced higher growth during the pandemic but are not currently laying off employees despite lower revenue in Q4.”

McDaniel noted that Apple grew its workforce by about 20% over the past three years, while Microsoft, at 50%, and Alphabet, at 57%, took a more aggressive approach to staffing.

“To be sure, economic and market uncertainty are contributors to these reductions,” he wrote, “but in the end, many companies will retain a larger workforce following layoffs than only 12 months ago.”

case of over enthusiasm

Robert D. Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a research and public policy organization in Washington, D.C., called the idea that companies would furlough workers to regain control lost during the pandemic “far from over.” ki kauri”.

“What happened with tech companies was they were a little overzealous in their response to the pandemic,” Atkinson told TechNewsWorld.

“A lot of the IT demand during the pandemic was somewhat temporary,” he explained. “When demand did come back, it was less than companies expected.” “He overshot,” he continued. “I don’t buy the idea that they’re taking away workers they could now be using productively to send a message to their workforce.”

“You have workers for a reason,” he said. “If you have more employees than your workload requires, you really only have one option, and that’s to downsize.”

post-pandemic changes

Atkinson, however, sees a post-pandemic shift in the tech sector.

“Are those going to be awful situations going forward with big signing bonuses and big salaries? I doubt it,” he said. “I think we are at the end of that era for the technical labor market.”

However, he acknowledged that there are always some skill sets that are going to be in high demand or in short supply. “You’re always going to pay for that superstar,” he said. “That’s not going to go away. It’s not going to bite the premium it did in the past.”

The most important change in tech will be how it handles cost, he continued.

“Earlier, cost was not a major constraint. Talent was their major constraint,” he said. “Now they are moving into a world where they cannot remain indifferent to cost.”

“They were in a world where they had so much money that they wanted to hire and keep the best recruits,” he continued. “Now they’re going to focus a lot more than before on cost control.”

“It might help them get more new hires right out of college because you’re going to make less for someone with that level of experience than you would be competing for someone at another company with 15 years of experience,” he said. Pay.”

A Safe Haven for Cyber ​​Security Jobs

When an industry starts tightening its belt, there are always marks that seem to buck the trend. With technology, one such niche is cyber security.

“In cyber security, we are seeing relative isolation from the effects of the recession,” said Clearwater, Fla. said Clare Rosso, CEO of (ISC)², an organization in the U.S. that certifies cybersecurity professionals.

“In the area of ​​cyber security, we’re seeing a strong hiring spree,” Rosso told TechNewsWorld.

One example of tech companies reasserting their control over employees is eliminating opportunities for workers to work from home. Not so among cybersecurity professionals, she stressed.

Rosso cited numbers from a study that will be released on Thursday that found 55% of cybersecurity professionals are either working remotely or have the flexibility to choose where they work, compared to 23% before the pandemic. Where do you work?

“What we’ve seen in the field of cyber security is that when employers force people to come back to the office, many people will move to a new job where they don’t have to go to work every day. ,” He said.

Rosso said organizations now have a greater understanding than before the pandemic of the value of cybersecurity professionals.

“Because they’re in such high demand, they’re not people you’re going to get rid of easily,” she said.

Rosso had this message for IT workers laid off from tech companies: “Get on cyber security, especially if you have deep technical skills. We have over three million open jobs for you to choose from.