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Tech Talent and Industry Layoffs: What Comes Next

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As 2022 turned the corner to 2023, there was (and still is, depending on the outlet) a ton of media attention on layoffs in the world of big tech. From November to December of 2022 alone, 4,100 now-former employees were let go from Cisco, up to 6,000 from HP, and upwards of 18,000 to 20,000 from Amazon. (A staggering number, given that’s approximately 6% of its corporate staff, or 1.3% of its global distribution center and hourly workers.) Then this year, the hits kept coming; Salesforce, Informatica, Microsoft, Verily, SAP, PayPal, Dell, Zoom, Yahoo, Meta, Twitter (which seems to make headlines almost daily) and Amazon again all reported layoffs. This type of decision-making and headcount reduction has since impacted the tech talent industry greatly, but in what ways specifically?

That’s what Boston Consulting Group (BCG) wanted to find out.

This past January, BCG conducted a survey of workers in the U.S. and Germany in various tech-functional roles in order to well-inform companies on how their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can be redesigned to compete for talent, especially given the waves of layoffs and ensuing workforce sentiments.

For BCG’s survey, its pool of 323 respondents included workers in IT infrastructure, IT consulting and staff augmentation, data and advanced analytics, IT operations, app and web development, product and project management, tech support and more. Of the 323 in total, 71 had been laid off within the last nine months. (Though thankfully – and this is key – 65 of them have since found new employment.)

Here's the long-story-short of the survey’s findings:

  • BCG believes that, to compete for tech talent, “companies need to thoughtfully redesign their EVP to best leverage talents’ strengths while also recognizing the opportunities for change, given dissatisfaction rates.”
  • Layoffs not only impacted the survey’s respondents, but also the departments with which they interacted; HR, marketing, customer success, etc. This, per BCG, shouldn’t be overlooked. Talent isn’t siloed.
  • On the lower end, 41% of respondents hit by layoffs gravitated towards start-ups; 3% went on to accept positions in retail start-ups, 2% in healthcare start-ups, and 2% in professional service sectors.
  • 75% of all respondents (quite literally three-fourths) are actively open to staying in tech, but a whopping 94% reported a high degree of willingness to consider roles outside of their industry. (e.g. positions in telecommunications, finance, etc.)
  • Overall, respondents reported high satisfaction with financial compensation, but low satisfaction in feeling aptly supported and heard, as well as in their general job security, and regarding their flexibility and work-life balance.
  • Respondents also considered the most-important elements to remain in a role as financial compensation, being fairly treated and respected, allowing them to do the work they’re most proficient in, the level of PTO made available to them, and the purpose and recognition that derive from their accomplishments.

It’s no secret that the hammer-drop nature of recent layoffs has been painful for many. And yet, it shouldn’t take something like a virtually-historic round of layoffs for leaders to treat talent how they deserve to be treated. Of course, BCG has generated valuable data from voices that should be heard, but sincere appreciation and the long-term incentivization of fluid teams and rewarding work shouldn’t be alien concepts, nor the type of concepts that are only considered when things go south. The pandemic, as garbage-tastic as it was, did serve as a spotlight, of sorts. Its now not just on talent to seek improved environments; it should be on business leads’ shoulders to recognize what talent goes through in order to systemically improve what comes next.




Edited by Greg Tavarez
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