Mass layoffs, primarily in tech, have flooded headlines in recent weeks, including at Twitter, Meta, Amazon, Salesforce, HP, and others. More than 50,000 tech workers were laid off in November, up from 12,600 in October.
Economists and business experts say recent layoff headlines aren't widespread or indicative of larger workforce trends, but they're still being discussed at length, in part because they're happening at household name companies that get a lot of media attention.
And, following the great resignation and quiet quitting, the new era of "loud layoffs" is having an outsized impact on how people feel about their jobs.
Layoffs make headlines, but they do not represent the overall job market.
Layoffs at companies such as Meta and Amazon have gotten a lot of attention, not only because of how many customers use their services, but also because the announcements seem to come out of nowhere. Through the pandemic, consumer demand and profits for online services increased, and leaders were told to grow at all costs. Throughout the pandemic, Amazon, for example, increased its workforce from 798,000 in 2019 to 1.6 million in 2021.
Then there's the messiness of it all, like Elon Musk publicly firing people on Twitter so quickly that HR has to bring them back.
Workers have been wondering how much longer they can maintain a competitive advantage in the labour market before things collapse, and this hiccup appears to signal a significant shift.
The slowdown isn't entirely due to the tech sector, which accounts for a small portion of the labour market. (In October, job openings in government and manufacturing fell.) Furthermore, those with in-demand skills are quickly rehired elsewhere, so many of these layoffs may never be recorded in government layoff data.
The big tech dream job is losing its lustre amid mass layoffs.
For decades, technology companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter have set the gold standard for success in the tech industry. Employees wanted to work for forward-thinking leaders, live on expansive campuses that catered to their every need, and use their skills to create some of the world's most influential technology.
And with the latest round of layoffs from companies like Twitter, Meta, and Amazon, it could be enough to tarnish the once-lauded dream companies that everyone seemed to want to work for.
For example, after Twitter laid off 3,700 employees on November 4, 11 per cent of remaining employees said they believe the company will succeed under Elon Musk's management, according to a survey of 442 US Twitter employees conducted from November 7 to 10 on Blind, the anonymous employee discussion board.
Only 2 per cent would recommend Twitter to their friends as an employer, and only 1 per cent believe the company treated employees with dignity and empathy during the layoff.
Aside from public scrutiny and scandal, layoff news may have a disproportionate impact on whether people say a company is a good place to work, and the latest round of dramatic cuts may indicate that Big Tech firms are losing their luster.
The 'tides are changing' in what is regarded as the 'gold standard' of tech jobs.
In the last decade or two, having a company name like Google, Microsoft or Amazon on your resume has been the gold standard for tech workers.
However, the "tides are changing" in terms of what employees want beyond name recognition these days. One shift: According to a Dice survey, roughly 60 per cent of tech workers want to work from home 100 per cent of the time, despite the fact that many companies have renewed their return-to-office efforts this year.
Despite layoffs, tech workers have many options.
Despite the fears of large corporations laying off a large number of employees, this can be viewed as a positive. It may provide you with the opportunity to join a smaller company where you can progress extensively, or even a start-up where you can help out and advance with this company.
Finally, many tech workers aspire to work for a large corporation. A smaller company (or start-up) is also a great way to advance within the company, try out different roles, and be more than just a number. This is due to the fact that in a smaller company, you have the option for one-on-one reviews to discuss whether you are in the right role, salary reviews, and the opportunity to speak with the founder/director about any concerns or positives. This would be more difficult in a large corporation.
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