As bad economic news piles up seemingly on a daily basis, we don’t know what the future holds except that change is on the way. Although we are seeing layoffs and hiring freezes at some companies, it doesn’t necessarily mean the talent crunch will immediately abate.
There will likely be some lag before we start to see the tight job market we’ve experienced for the last couple of years begin to loosen. Even then, there are certain fields like engineering, data science and cybersecurity, where tech companies large and small could still struggle to find talent no matter what the macroeconomic conditions look like.
Over the last month, we have seen an increase in the number of startup layoff announcements at companies like Cameo, On Deck and Robinhood. Meanwhile, big companies like Netflix, Meta and Uber have announced hiring freezes, with the consumer streaming service throwing some layoffs into the mix as well.
Despite this onslaught of bad news, for now, most startup founders, investors and HR pros don’t see the job market magically improving for hiring departments, at least in the near term. That means the folks in charge of hiring are still going to have to shake the bushes for talent.
Matt Hoffman, partner and head of talent at VC firm M13 and a former HR pro, said for a lot of people, the desire to be a part of something and help it grow is in some ways a stronger motivator than perks and pay. That’s good news for startups looking for talent.
“I’ve always believed that people don’t join a company just for the economic benefits. They join for the opportunity to have an impact and to grow. And so in a lot of cases, it may be a more opportune time to take a chance in an early-stage company because you can focus on that long-term horizon, and you can get that opportunity to grow and have an impact,” Hoffman told me.
For employees, he said there will still be opportunities at good companies in any economic conditions, but attracting talent always comes down to creating a good place to work.
“Even in the tightest of economic environments — and we’re not there yet — there’s always going to be high demand for the best talent. Always. So the things that you need to do to attract, engage and retain these employees does not change,” he said.