In the first 24 days of 2023, more than 170 tech companies laid off more than 56,000 workers, data from Layoffs.fyi shows. The most high-profile of these, layoffs from tech giants Amazon, Google and Microsoft, impacted tens of thousands of workers.
The cuts come as businesses economywide have tapered their appetite for tech talent. In December, businesses hired 7,000 fewer tech workers compared to November, declining from 137,000 to 130,000, according to a CompTIA review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
But the big picture for tech workers is not all doom and gloom. Businesses need skilled tech talent, and they are still willing to pay a premium.
“Talent remains confident, I think they’re just more cautious,” Alisia Genzler, group president and chief client officer at Randstad Technologies, said. “While the war for talent isn’t as strong as it once was, I think the job market is still favorable to job seekers.”
For skilled tech talent, work opportunities are still abundant, according to Genzler.
Out of the workers who moved around during the Great Resignation, nearly 9 in 10 workers now in the tech field are happy in their current position, according to a report by educational technology company Cengage Group published Tuesday.
The Great Resignation shifted power from employer to employee, as workers searched for better opportunities, culture and pay. However, recent workforce reductions could leave tech workers questioning whether to job hop or stay put.
Job cuts could have an impact on the amount of shuffling this year, but workers who are not happy at their current company will continue to look for better opportunities, according to Graham Waller, distinguished research VP at Gartner.
“Movement will continue, particularly for the most sought after skills, such as cybersecurity, data science and software engineering,” Waller said. “It has tempered, but that’s a small tempering in a very hot market.”
Younger employees will also continue to move around at higher rates than others, according to Waller.
For CIOs, this means that retention efforts cannot subside. Tech workers still want generous compensation, a healthy work-life balance and flexible work experiences.
Rigid models of work, including mandatory back-to-office policies, will likely to continue to drive away tech talent, so sticking with a human-centric work design is key, according to Waller.
“A human-centric design is one that places human beings at the center of work,” Waller said. “It features three dimensions — a flexible hybrid work model, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management — to achieve positive outcomes in staff retention, fatigue and employee performance.”