The slowing economy has caused a wave of layoffs, the sudden loss of jobs left many tech workers looking for new employment. However, instead of facing difficulty finding work, they discovered that their skills are still in high demand from non-tech industries such as healthcare, finance, and government. Despite the negative trend, companies are able to attract unreachable talent using remote work and stable teams.

Young Generation climbing up despite layoffs

The email arrived on November 4th with the subject line β€œYour role at Twitter”. Grace-Ann Baker, a former Director of Product Management at the social media company, recalls the moment she was laid off, which was new to her. Unfortunately, she was not alone, as the new owner Elon Musk ended up dismissing almost two-thirds of the 7,500 employees he had inherited and later shut off the Seattle office, demanding those employees into remote work. This trend continued throughout the tech industry as companies downsized their workforce in response to the slowing economy. Major tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as smaller firms like Stripe, Vimeo, and Stitch Fix, all announced layoffs.

The sudden loss of jobs left many tech workers, who were once in high demand with attractive salaries and perks, looking for new employment. However, instead of facing difficulty finding work, they discovered their skills are still in high demand. Employers from non-tech industries such as healthcare, finance, and government are now eager to hire tech talent, especially software engineers and web designers, due to the tech sector’s current decline.

These non-tech companies offer more stability and a chance to join established tech teams. Walmart alone employs over 20,000 engineers, UX specialists, and data scientists, working on e-commerce and information security. A company spokesperson proudly states that β€œit’s an exciting time for retail tech”.

JPMorgan Chase, a leading financial services company with a global tech workforce of 55,000, is optimistic about attracting and retaining tech talent. Lori Beer, the global CIO of JPMorgan, reports that they are witnessing a decrease in attrition to pre-pandemic levels and a drop in competition for top tech candidates.

The stark difference between tech and other industries is reflected in the layoff figures. In 2022, tech companies saw a 649% surge in layoffs with more than 97,000 employees affected, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement services firm. On the other hand, across all industries, there was a 13% increase in layoffs with nearly 364,000 jobs cut. Excluding tech, the overall layoffs actually decreased from the previous year.

Despite the current economic uncertainty, the US economy added 223,000 jobs in December 2022, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating a healthy job market outside of the tech sector.

The varying paths of the tech and other industries can be attributed to multiple factors. During the boom years, many tech companies engaged in hiring sprees, particularly during the pandemic, to meet the sudden increase in demand from consumers and businesses due to lockdowns.

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The current job market in the tech sector is not as favorable as it was, as tech companies have cut down a significant number of jobs amid the economic slowdown caused by recent interest rate hikes. However, this situation presents a rare opportunity for non-tech industries and younger, ambitious companies outside of Silicon Valley. Especially remote and meaningful job opportunities are an important factor that lets employees even cut-out on their tech-salaries.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, has over 700 job openings for tech workers, including in cloud infrastructure and cybersecurity, and is receiving more inbound inquiries for tech positions. Despite lower salaries compared to the private sector, the VA and other federal agencies are pushing for a special salary rate for specific job functions, which has been approved for some tech positions. According to Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology and CIO Kurt DelBene, the VA is working to make it the best place to work in the federal government.

Although well-established tech companies like Intuit and Adobe are attracting laid-off tech talent, early-stage startups are not generating as much interest due to the uncertain financial status and lack of a track record, where as mid-range enterprises are faced with the biggest talent pool in history. Most tech companies offer generous severance packages, which soften the blow of layoffs and keep tech talent in high demand. However, laid-off employees still face emotions and uncertainty as they make their next career move.

Tech employees like former DoorDash and Twitter worker, who wished to remain anonymous, are taking their time to make their next move, but the market is optimistic, with recruiters saying that non-traditional tech companies are eager to hire tech talent. While former Twitter worker is still figuring out where she wants to work next, she is open-minded and optimistic about the opportunities and interviews she has received.