About the Tech Layoffs…

About the Tech Layoffs...

The 2022 tech layoffs are continuing into 2023. What does that mean for the tech talent market? And what does it mean for anyone needing to hire over the next 6 to 12 months?
First, just because Big Tech has been laying off large numbers of people does not necessarily mean that there are candidates hanging out on street corners. Software Engineers (especially backend), Data Engineers, Data Scientists, Analysts and so on are still very much in demand. The windfall of potentially available talent is not going to last for long.

The intersection of timing, availability, and needs is always limited.

Second, Big Tech did a lot of hiring over the past three years.  By a lot, I mean a whole lot more than they likely needed.  Some of the layoffs are companies right-sizing their organizations based on what they perceive the market telling them.  The previous hiring numbers and the recent layoffs are so large that mistakes certainly happened.
For example, some really good talent got hired and laid off.  Some not so good hires and layoffs were made, too.  And a lot of people were hired into contexts or cultures that were not productive fits for them or the company.  When pursuing candidates recently laid off, invest the time in understanding the context and culture they recently left in addition to their hard tech skills.  You will probably have to pass on a few more than usual but there are some outstanding candidates in the market who are worth the extra steps.
Third, there is a re-leveling of candidate expectations happening right now.  The last big squeeze on hiring was during 2008-09.  Many candidates only started their careers post-2010 and have never experienced a recession or a difficult job market.  This is a new experience for a lot of people!  Big Tech gave a lot of perks, incentives and generally higher comp structures than most companies can provide.  Now the playing field is leveling out a bit and candidates have to adjust, too.
Expect an increase in start ups and solo operations along with tech candidates being open to opportunities that they would have passed on a couple of years ago.
Finally, in spite of the layoffs, demand for tech talent is only getting stronger and the increased availability of talent is temporary.  One of the most critical tasks for employers to execute on is making their opportunity resonate with that talent market.
The value propositions that candidates are seeking are not just tied to compensation packages, location or brand name.  Quality candidates want to be part of a bigger story.  They want to understand and align with a company’s mission.  They want to clearly see the value of their work in helping an organization achieve that mission, too.
For instance, while a job description needs minimum responsibilities and requirements, make sure that there are “value adds”, too.  Beyond the day to day, what accomplishments and mission critical tasks must be addressed in the first 90 days, 6 months and first year?  How do these contribute to the organization and employee growth?  Invest the time in articulating these in position descriptions and frank conversations during the interview process.
Perhaps the most important piece of this hiring equation is this, making sure to closely align each candidate’s work culture with the organization’s work culture.  Not everyone is built for a rocket-fueled startup and not everyone is built for a slower-moving, predictable work environment.  The interview process should be geared toward confirming that how each candidate goes about their job is aligned with how the organization or team goes about delivering on their mission.
The market is vibrant and evolving.  Right now both candidates and hiring teams must evolve with it.  It is not an easy task for anyone but we all have to grow through it.

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