Only 9% of tech workers feel confident in their job security, according to a June survey from Blind, the anonymous professional networking site.
Labor market fears are no doubt fueled by the most popular headlines around hiring freezes, job offers canceled and mass layoffs from emerging startups and tech giants alike, including Robinhood and Oracle just this week.
More than 32,000 people were laid off from the US tech sector in 2022, according to Crunchbase data.
Rick Chen, head of public relations for the blind, says today’s lack of confidence in the job market is a 180 degree turn from what it was just months ago. Back in March, about 80% of tech workers were confident about the job market and were considering looking for a new job.
The news of layoffs is making tech workers in many industries feel confused, especially those working in e-commerce, real estate and companies closely related to the stock market, which experienced a boom during the Covid recovery in 2021 but massive volatility in today’s economy.
Job stability concerns for workers have risen at companies that have announced layoffs in recent months. As of the Blind survey, conducted June 20 and 21, companies with the highest percentage of workers involved included Compass, with 95% feeling least confident about their job security, as well as Twitter (91%), Robinhood (90%) and Instacart ( 90%) and Coinbase (83%).
Chen says workers are taking their concerns online: Discussions about hiring freezes and layoffs doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, while discussions including the term “stagnation” increased 15-fold.
Despite layoffs, ‘tech workers are being laid off in weeks’
Economists say widespread pessimism contrasts with the still-hot labor market. Hiring and layoffs remained near record levels, while layoffs in June remained just under 1% of the workforce.
Workers may not have as much bargaining power as in early 2022, but Chen says tech workers are still in a good position to find a new job or get back on their feet if they are laid off.
“We find companies are still hiring, and the people we hire are snapped up in a matter of weeks,” Chen says, referring to activity in the Blind recruitment market. As of June, 64% of tech leaders said it’s becoming harder or more difficult to find skilled workers in their open jobs, according to a CNBC survey.
Alistair Shirazi, 34, works as an engineering project manager with Apple on a contract basis. Although his contract expired in November, he is “not at all worried” about continuing to work for the tech giant or getting a new job after that.
First, notice that his boss continues to discuss how hard it is to hire and retain employees to keep her team working appropriately. Shirazi expects his contract to be extended, or he may be hired as a full-time employee.
He also sees the recent layoffs as temporary: “We just came out of a massive hiring boom in the technology sector,” says Shirazi. “Booms are usually followed by periods of collapse, but then booms follow again.”
Shirazi predicts that established companies will win by attracting tech workers and leaving riskier startups behind: “I don’t see these layoffs as a time when people spend a lot of time sitting at home,” he says.
How to prove your new job in the future
If you’re considering a move, Chen advises you to take this time to think about what you want most from your career. “During the good times, people were leaving every 12 to 18 months on average and looking for jobs with higher wages and compensation,” he says. “Now is the time to take stock of what is most important to you, whether that’s work-life balance, telecommuting, a flexible work schedule, or opportunities to advance your skills or career.”
You might also ask more questions to gauge the stability of a potential company: “Be wary of descriptions like ‘excessive growth’ in the job description and dig deeper,” says Jenny Cheng, coach at Career Contessa. “Learn more about the steps they take to support employee retention or how to grow responsibly.”
As for the future of tech jobs, Chen adds, “every company is a tech company,” and they need programmers, data scientists, and product people to create digital products and services. There is safety in technical roles. “
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