The next 12 months will be critical for tech companies to attract and hire the skills and talent they need to navigate the tech industry challenges ahead. Our experts share how tech companies are responding to challenges brought by the changing tech labor market.
After the Great Resignation, the shadow of layoffs has come to haunt Silicon Valley where the tech giants reside. Last month, Facebook parent company Meta, announced it is pausing hiring and further restructuring amid an uncertain economic climate. According to the recent findings by CW Jobs, 85% of IT professionals expect their companies to be impacted by the cost of doing business and expect cutbacks in the year ahead – hiring freezes (21%) and pay freezes (20%).
The next 12 months will be critical for tech employers to attract and hire the skills and talent they need to navigate the market challenges ahead, the report said. “We are seeing pure technology companies initiate layoffs, hiring freezes and slow their tech hiring more than the corporate support tech jobs, such as retail and healthcare,” Neil Costa, founder and CEO of HireClix told Spiceworks. “The more traditional industries are still trying to keep up with the rapid pace of technology change and still need tech talent,” he added.
According to Hirect, a free, chat-based hiring app, more than 50 rounds of layoffs have impacted over 14,000 highly skilled employees from the U.S.-based tech startups. With more layoffs undoubtedly on the horizon, do tech workers need a reality check? To understand this aspect, we asked experts three mission-critical questions: Which industries are clamping down tech hiring? Which factors are causing companies to cut back on tech hirings? What steps companies need to take to future-proof the tech job market? Here’s what techies need to understand.
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According to a survey by Blind, an anonymous professional networking site, only 9% of techies feel confident in their job security. However, tech hiring experts believe that despite the economic uncertainty and companies trying to save costs, tech workers are still high in demand. 64% of tech leaders say they’re struggling to hire skilled workers for open roles, the survey found.
So, the question is, which industries are proving to be recession-proof?
“From cloud providers to cryptocurrency, we’ve seen a slowdown in tech hirings across a number of industries. However, two industries that are proving to be ‘recession-proof’ are cybersecurity and data protection,” explained Danny Allan, chief technology officer at Veeam, a data protection company.
In February 2022, Adzuna – a job search engine saw 3,339 ‘metaverse’ job ads in the U.S., up +379% from just 697 four months ago.
“Hiring metaverse experts is the latest recruitment trend to show exponential growth. The last few months have seen a surge in job openings related to the metaverse with demand catalyzed by Zuckerberg’s Facebook rebranding and refocusing exercise.” – James Neave, head of data science at Adzuna
According to Adzuna’s report, two more areas have also seen rapid growth in job postings. The number of job vacancies mentioning the keyword ‘crypto’ has risen sharply, accounting for 5,302 advertised vacancies in February 2022, up from 2,662 in October, and +409% higher compared to 1,042 a year ago. Similarly, there were 64,659 ‘cybersecurity’ jobs in February 2022, up from 48,183 in October, more than doubling (+137%) from 27,267 a year ago, the report said.
“Metaverse experts are the new hot ticket with related roles ranging from developers to data scientists, writers, and creatives. This follows booming interest in crypto and cybersecurity roles throughout 2021 and we continue to see the tech sector growing and strengthening during this time,” Neave stated.
Monthly US Advertised Vacancies for Metaverse, Crypto, and Cybersecurity Roles
Echoing Allan’s views, Cody Harker, head of data & insights at Bayard Advertising, said, most of the big players in the tech space have announced layoffs, but other industries (like retail and finance) have actually been focusing their recruitment efforts on tech workers.
“For instance, to help build their infrastructure in the IT space, Nike is offering bonuses ($5,000) to employees who refer tech workers. And of Nike’s current 1,732 open positions, 644 are tech jobs, including software developers, data engineers, and technology managers.” – Cody Harker, head of data & insights at Bayard Advertising
Most tech recruiters believe that despite the reset the tech industry is going through, tech workers should be bullish about the future. Another contributing factor for this belief are ransomware attacks. As ransomware attacks continue to grow in both size and scope, companies are prioritizing their ability to respond.
In conclusion, it’s critical to note that hiring isn’t always industry-specific, Susan Hanson, chief people officer at RainFocus told Spiceworks. “Two seemingly comparable companies in the same industry might have vastly different financials — one that demands layoffs and one that requires hiring. It’s best to vet companies individually to the best of your ability, checking in about hiring and the company’s needs.”
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As per the iCIMS August Insights Report, tech workers may be hesitant to make moves now given media headlines of layoffs in the space and the age-old notion of last one in, first one out. Tech application activity has also returned to pre-pandemic levels, down more than 20% from the height of the pandemic, the report said.
With fewer applicants applying, tech roles are taking longer to fill. This makes for a challenging hiring landscape for employers who are continuing to accelerate digital transformation efforts and in need of tech talent. “Strong organizations can differentiate themselves during an economic downturn by optimizing their platforms, engaging existing employees, and picking up strong tech talent. Now is the time for tech companies to separate themselves,” Allan pointed.
“Many tech companies raised capital and increased their workforce during the industry’s ‘bull run.’ However, rising interest rates and an economic slowdown have driven many of these same companies to either freeze hiring or lay off a percentage of the workforce.” – Danny Allan, chief technology officer at Veeam
Tech companies found themselves short-staffed during the hyper-growth of the tech industry. When hiring came back after the initial shock of COVID, technology companies saw this as a green light to get aggressive and boosted salaries to encourage workers to make a move, experts said. “It’s a little bit of buyer’s remorse and a little bit of talent management since they may not be getting the talent they thought they were paying for and they need to manage them outside of the organization,” Costa explained.
According to Hanson, now that supply and demand are leveling out, especially after many organizations put growth above financial stability, cuts are being made. “Of course, not all organizations prioritize growth and have financials that allow continuous growth despite current market conditions,” Hanson said.
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Tech employers may need to consider how they can build up and create stickier talent pipelines to attract and engage this in-demand talent. Pooley added that hiring for specialized roles is particularly difficult in the current job market. Organizations must focus on reducing attrition and aim to invest in their futures, he suggested.
“Cybersecurity, for example, is hard to hire for because of the specialized skills and experience required. But if an organization can train an employee into that role, providing them the training and experience, the organization can accomplish two things at once – filling an open role and retaining a current employee.” – Alastair Pooley, chief information officer at Snow Software
Tech recruiters confirm that layoffs are, to an extent, unavoidable in tech. “But if companies are more intentional about hiring and focus on retention rather than the recruitment of a surplus of new employees every couple of years, they could help to avoid the bigger waves of layoffs like we’re seeing now,” explained Harker.
Another aspect which several reports confirm will not shake the tech job market is flexible work. Most experts agree that flexible work will not disappear, not at least anytime soon. “The balance of power hasn’t slipped back in favor of employers quite yet, and as of now, even companies asking their employees to return to the office are allowing flexible work,” Costa informed. Companies will be at a disadvantage if they do not offer flexible working as candidates expect to be able to work from anywhere, Pooley told Spiceworks.
As for tech professionals, the focus on learning new skills and improving their existing skill-sets should be strong. Experts believe that tech workers who focus their energy on self-improvement will be in very high demand.
How should companies sail through tech hirings in uncertain economic conditions? Comment below or let us know on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!
Technology Editor, Spiceworks Ziff Davis
On June 22, Toolbox will become Spiceworks News & Insights