Tech

Why is tech seeing so many layoffs?

In the first 16 days of this year, more than 24,000 employees have been laid off in the tech industry, according to an analysis from Layoffs.

Why is tech seeing so many layoffs?
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It has been a rough start to the year for the tech industry as 91 companies have laid off thousands of employees, according to Layoffs.fyi. Microsoft announced Wednesday it's cutting 10,000 workers. And more layoffs are expected Wednedsay as Amazon has said it will start its process of eliminating 18,000 positions.

In the first 16 days of this year, more than 24,000 employees have been laid off in the tech industry, according to the analysis from Layoffs.fyi. It is a startling number that adds to the 154,000 layoffs that plagued the industry last year.

“These are the exact areas where they’re laying off the most people. So, for Amazon, it’s devices,” said Daniel Keum, a professor of management at the Columbia Business School.

Keum says the layoffs are a correction to massive growth from the last few years.

Google axes 12,000 jobs, layoffs spread across tech sector
Google axes 12,000 jobs, layoffs spread across tech sector

Google axes 12,000 jobs, layoffs spread across tech sector

The jobs being eliminated "cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions," Google head Sundar Pichai said.

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During the pandemic, online work boomed, and many tech companies anticipated it as a new normal. But now, as we ease back into life before the pandemic, companies are laying off workers to bolster their balance sheets.

“[These companies] were overly optimistic in their ability to grow and the growth never materialized,” said Keum. “I mean Google, Amazon — their existing businesses had gotten so successful, so it’s sort of their past success constraining their future investment.”

That is what happened to Chris Graber’s brother just last month. Both he and his brother work in tech, but Graber says his brother was quickly able to find other work since his skills are still needed.

“Even though people are getting laid off, and even from our own recruiting where I’m at, we don’t see anyone kind of taking less,” said Graber. “People, even if they’re laid off and even if there’s a little bit of fear about the future, the employees in tech can still demand the work from home and other things they’re used to.”

Keum says the ability to quickly get hired elsewhere is because this is not a problem with tech at large. He says the layoffs are happening in certain sectors of certain companies, and many times, they are larger companies, so smaller tech firms are currently flooding the applicant pool looking for people who were recently laid off.

“You are still the most heavily sought-after talent in the world, across industries,” said Keum. “So, in the midterm, you might have to rethink your transition, but I think in two to three years, or four years, the hiring will continue. Google, Meta, Amazon, these companies will continue to grow and dominate the economy.”

This might not help those who have just been laid off, but it does show promise for the future.

Foreign tech workers on visas face uncertain futures amid layoffs
Foreign tech workers on visas face uncertain futures amid layoffs

Foreign tech workers on visas face uncertain futures amid layoffs

As some American industries turn to layoffs to counter costs, workers on visas face having to leave the U.S. unless they get re-hired within 60 days.

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