Navigating the Pandemic: A Look at Tech Layoffs in 2021 and Beyond
The tech industry saw an unprecedented number of layoffs in 2020, and the trend has continued into this year. Layoffs.fyi, a website that tracks layoffs in the tech industry, estimates that tech companies have cut nearly 160,000 jobs in the past year, with another 88,000 layoffs announced in the first few weeks of 2023. But despite the hefty number of layoffs, the tech industry has managed to grow its workforce by 41% since the start of the pandemic.
The main reason why tech companies are cutting jobs is to reduce costs. While companies like Amazon, Meta, and Salesforce roughly doubled their workforces from 2019 to 2022, Apple only increased its staff by 20%. By hiring fewer staff, Apple has been able to avoid layoffs and generate far more revenue per new hire than its peers.
Unfortunately, these layoffs have disproportionately affected women in tech, who make up less than a third of the workforce. Women are more likely to be in customer-facing roles like marketing, customer service, human resources, and recruitment, which are often the first to be cut.
Although the layoffs represent a small fraction of the tech workforce, they can still have serious consequences for the affected employees and their families. Fortunately, most laid-off tech workers are finding new roles relatively quickly in the still tight job market. A ZipRecruiter survey from late October of last year found that almost 80% of laid off tech workers found new jobs within three months.
It remains to be seen whether the tech industry’s hiring numbers will continue into this year, and how many of them will be filled by women. The most recent round of tech job cuts have already seen 45% of layoffs made up of women, according to data from Layoffs.FYI.
At the end of the day, tech layoffs are about cutting costs, and tech companies have to make tough decisions about their workforce in order to stay competitive. But with the tech industry continuing to grow its workforce despite the layoffs, it appears that most tech companies have managed to navigate the pandemic better than expected.
0. “Ranked: America's 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020” Visual Capitalist, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/americas-20-biggest-tech-layoffs-since-2020/
1. “Workato and Clari Among Latest Startups Cutting Staff” Business Insider, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/tech-layoffs-workato-clari-unicorn-startups-headcount-reduction-job-cuts-2023-2
2. “How Layoffs Affect Stock Prices of Tech Companies” Money, 7 Feb. 2023, https://money.com/tech-layoffs-affect-stock-prices/
3. “Here’s why Apple hasn’t had to slash jobs like almost every other tech company” 9to5Mac, 10 Feb. 2023, https://9to5mac.com/2023/02/10/why-apple-hasnt-cuts-jobs/
4. “Tech layoffs have disproportionately affected women. Here's why.” MSNBC, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/know-your-value/business-culture/tech-layoffs-have-disproportionately-affected-women-here-s-why-n1302865
5. “Despite big layoffs, it’s still a great time to work in tech, experts say: ‘I’ve seen bad job markets…this is not it’” CNBC, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/02/03/despite-big-tech-layoffs-its-still-a-good-time-to-work-in-tech.html
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