If you’ve been reading about the current state of the tech industry in traditional media reports, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the industry is trembling on a precipice, about to plunge into the inky abyss.
The truth, though, is somewhat more nuanced. While sites such as layoffs.fyi, which tracks tech redundancies, are reporting that around 616 tech companies have laid off 184,101 employees so far this year, those layoffs should be viewed within a wider context.
Gartner’s Mbula Schoen, a senior director analyst, said in a recent blog post, “Gartner research found that the companies behind the 10 largest layoffs in tech talent still employ over 150,000 more people in total than at the beginning of 2020.”
Without diminishing the impact this has had on those who have lost their jobs, in the main, layoffs aren’t happening because companies are failing.
Rather they are happening because of a number of factors which include over-hiring during the pandemic and corrections around that, wider economic factors, inflation and higher interest rates, as well as cost-cutting.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, also posits that, “layoffs are basically an instance of social contagion, in which companies imitate what others are doing.”
Muddying the waters further is the fact that many of the roles that have been made redundant aren’t technical ones, for example, coding, machine learning, or data scientist jobs.
“Contrary to what we’re seeing in the headlines, many of those being impacted by layoffs are in business functions, rather than tech roles,” says Schoen.
Layoffs.fyi founder Roger Lee agrees. “Sales is the most common role, accounting for 20% of the laid-off tech workers. Recruiting and HR are the functions most disproportionately affected relative to their size; it’s becoming quite common for companies to lay off 50% or more of their talent teams.”
Layoffs and a talent crunch
As a result, we are in an environment where thousands of people at tech firms are losing their jobs––and yet employers are experiencing a talent crunch; struggling to fill specific roles.
A survey of recently laid off workers echoed this demand. It found that those who have been let go have been swiftly re-hired elsewhere. About 79% of workers recently hired after a tech-company layoff or termination landed their new job within three months of starting their search.
In another study from 2022, Gartner confirmed that a skills shortage exists, with 86% of CIOs saying they were experiencing more competition for qualified candidates, and 73% worried about IT talent attrition.
Because there simply isn’t a large pool of tech talent active in the job market, as a result, there are a number of sought-after, in-demand skills, such as web development, DevOps and database software, according to data from Statista. 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 Needs Analysis Report that, “There is a shift to new kinds of developers, like full stack developers and low code developers, but the most important insight is that developers are becoming more and more part of the regular organisation instead of a separate entity. Soft skills and knowledge of the business are therefore increasingly important for developers to be able to function.”
ESSA also identified skills gaps in the areas of data analysis and said that the key areas influencing software skills are AI, Big Data, Industry 4.0, and modelling, particularly in research.
If you’re in the market for a data job, Amsterdam-based RevoData B.V. is seeking the unusual title of Data Revolutionist to be the company’s data and AI champion, and work as part of a highly-talented, digital-native team to develop revolutionary data and AI solutions with DataBricks.
The AI field also needs more talent. Those with skills in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) are in particularly high demand, feeding into the requirements of Internet of Things companies, the metaverse, and Industry 4.0.
Those with machine learning skills should check out this role at Apple in Berlin. The Machine Learning High-Performance C++ Software Engineer will work on complex problems in computer vision that require robust, efficient, well tested, and clean solutions.
Still more jobs are set to be created as a whole new breed of startups launch. In what could be a symptom of big tech’s layoffs, the startup accelerator Y Combinator said applications increased by 20% in 2022, and in total it received over 38,000 applications. This means exciting new career opportunities are just on the horizon.
Want a new job in an emerging field? Discover thousands of employers actively hiring on the House of Talent Job Board
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