When you lose 100,000 jobs in one month, as happened in tech in January, it’s easy to think that the bottom is falling out of the tech jobs market. The torrent of big company layoffs has been swift and brutal, with Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Salesforce, among others, laying off thousands each.
But as with everything else in this economic downturn, nothing is as it seems, or certainly not as clear cut as it was in 2008 or after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 when the economy crashed hard, and it was a long rough ride back to stability.
The justification for these layoffs is cutting operations costs and increasing profits, perhaps reducing payroll that swelled during the height of the pandemic. It’s a savage business, but a careful look at the jobs data suggests that maybe it isn’t quite as bad as it appears at first blush.
The conventional wisdom suggests that these job cuts have to eventually catch up with us, but so far, tech workers — especially those with specialized skills like engineering, data science, AI and cybersecurity — continue to be in demand as supply lags behind the number of open jobs.
The people let go by Big Tech just may not be going to other tech companies.