In mid-January 2023, large tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Meta, began to lay off large amounts of tech workers, which made headlines across the world. However, layoffs inside tech are not new. Tech is a cyclical sector, which means that when the economy goes up, so does the sector. Ahmed Hussain, a senior associate at PwC, described this occurrence as similar to a bubble; “during periods of economic growth, companies hire more workers to maximize their profits, building up a bubble around themselves. When the economy begins to return to normal, or over fears of something like a recession, the bubble bursts and companies have to begin their layoffs.”
Covid-19 was a notable exception, as when the economy went down, the tech sector shot up as people stayed at home and watched shows off of Netflix and YouTube, and worked through Zoom, leading to companies hiring excess workers. With things going back to normal, as well as fears of a recession, increasing interest rates, and inflation (Capoot and Pitt, 2023), Big Tech has begun their usual routine of tech layoffs.
But who was most affected by these layoffs? Amazon focused most of their layoffs at its stores and human resources department, and Google targeted a variety of areas including software such as Google Chrome, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence sectors. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, spoke about the layoffs stating, “As we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we’re now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less” (Haranas, 2023).
Fortunately, many people who are victims of layoff in the industry are able to find a job relatively quickly, with 75% finding a new job within 3 months (Witte, 2022). One recently graduated student who recently joined the workforce stated that what helped him the most in finding a new tech job was “connecting with my network and building new relationships, especially through job fairs or conferences.” Most laid off workers also end up going back into the tech industry, due to the large demand for workers in the field. Even though big tech jobs are highly sought after for their high pay and benefits, it is important to consider their instability and what it could mean to you.