“The rising tide,” they say, “raises all ships.”
Maybe not permanent.
In all of 2024, which is generally a great year for the job market, 1,054 companies in the tech sector recorded layoffs of 164,411 employees (source: layoffs.com, which monitors tech companies).
By this year’s Tax Day, April 15, that number was already blown, with 586 tech companies reporting layoffs of 170,549 employees. So not only have we seen an explosion of layoffs in the tech sector, the average number of layoffs per company has gone from 156 to 291 — and that’s not including Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement of two upcoming rounds of layoffs of up to 21,000 workers — plus That led to the withdrawal of 5,000 job vacancies (source: The New York Times, April 12). Total damage, dead alone: 26,000. We’ve also seen what Elon Musk can do. More is coming; count on it.
Earlier this year, I wrote in an article in another post — “11 Things I’ll Watch Closely This Year” — that No. 3 was tech layoffs. I simply said, “Watch out. The adults are moving.”
As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, in the first three months of 2023 the overall economy created 1.216 million jobs, sustaining over 27 months 12.5 million jobs in the most shocking post-recession comeback in history. Not only has this never happened before; He had never dreamed of it. But the tech sector is falling behind, and not by a bit. What’s going on?
In a Zoom interview with me in February, Sherina Walker, executive director of the Career Center at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, explained, “During Covid-19, technology saw a hiring boom with huge demand, and Crypto was a part of it. Employment increased and now there is an adjustment to the new demand.”
Well, if that wasn’t the understatement of the year! And from my point of view, we were nowhere near done. So, with such dismal prospects, this raises some basic questions: Where exactly in the tech sector have all these jobs been lost? Why did you get into technology? Why did you major or get a degree in Information Technology or Computer Science to begin with?
What I’ve found in independent apprenticeship practice is that the two most common answers are: (1) well paid, and (2) great. If you’ll forgive me, you can now add fBeautifully Well paid and not as great as you might think. There are many reasons to get into a field, including information technology, but these two reasons shouldn’t be #1 and #2. Something else should matter.
Six months ago, I launched a program called Coach on Call where clients can access my training whenever they need it, whether they’re working or not.
Initial observations of the career planning aspect, participants overwhelmingly answered the question, “What do you really want to do with your life?” A question with answers indicating a direct or indirect awareness that what interests them is something in addition to information technology – for example, healthcare, public service, management consulting, or urban planning. In short, they realize that they are interested in things that are more customer-friendly, related to some kind of global issue, or areas where IT is instrumental in the development of other technologies (clean energy, for example).
While there is no correlation study here, it seems certain that being in technology for technology’s sake (a) didn’t cut it anymore, and (b) was (still) poor—as a result, so were the people who held those jobs. The note of optimism here is that their formidable IT skills can help them land those newly defined career paths. In other words and in simple terms, doing IT in a field that is not limited to IT mainly.
This is existential and especially appropriate in light of the tech sector’s wave of layoffs that won’t end anytime soon.
Being in tech just for the sake of being in tech can be very lucrative, sure, but the data shows the risks. Tech’s loss of 170,000 jobs represents 14% of the jobs created in the same time period. Stop and think about that for a minute. For every seven jobs created elsewhere, one tech job has gone up in smoke. Or, shall we say, omitted. Other than that, nearly 1.4 million jobs were created in the first three months of this year; It’s just that 170,000 of them have been canceled as if, on a total basis, they never happened.
Will there be an end to this? Of course, but not soon. Obviously, the edit that Sherena Walker was talking about is still a work in progress.
The tide is still rising, but there still seem to be ships that don’t go up with it.