It has been three years since the pandemic forced the global tech community to go remote. The news more recently is seemingly dominated by equal part job cuts and mandated return to office strategies.
So, where are tech jobs going? No crystal ball is available, but I will make four overlapping observations:
1. Job Cuts Continue – I Suspect We Are Not Yet Done
Over 58,000 jobs have been cut so far in 2023. This is not just start-ups. Many large caps like Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, and others are in the mix. The narrative is that this is correcting the over-hiring from the boom times during the pandemic.
Tech workers definitely continue to have a hard time:
‘Tech isn’t as collegial as it used to be. Rocket ships are being unveiled as sputtering messes, mission-driven start-ups don’t feel so mission oriented when responding to investor pressure, and widespread layoffs offer a loud reminder that jobs are breakable contracts not sacrosanct vows. Over the past few months, thousands of employees from Meta, Twitter, Stripe, Amazon, DoorDash, and countless other companies that don’t have the privilege of being household names are back on the job market.’
And unfortunately, I suspect many more companies will follow the leadership of more established names and some more job cut announcements may still be on the horizon.
2. How Tech Workers Are Reacting Depends on Their Generation
Reactions to job cuts are partly driven by generational divide:
‘Millennials and Generation Z, born between 1981 and 2012, started tech careers during a decade-long expansion when jobs multiplied as fast as iPhone sales. The companies they joined were conquering the world and defying economic rules…Baby boomers and members of Generation X, born between 1946 and 1980, on the other hand, lived through the biggest contraction the industry has ever seen. The dot-com crash of the early 2000s eliminated more than one million jobs, emptying Silicon Valley’s Highway 101 of commuters as many companies folded overnight.’
3. The Pandemic Overhire Is Being Corrected, But Remote Work Persists
There is a marked preference for remote jobs in tech – at least part of the time. For engineering teams at start-ups, I’m sharing a few takeaways from a good report.
- Demand for remote engineering continues: 80% of respondents said that they want to work remotely at least 80% of the time.
- This is more than present (66% of respondents are currently working fully remote).
- Demand for remote engineering is basically flat to last year (82% vs 80%).
One of the reasons working remotely has continued to take-off are the time saving attributes. Research suggests it is over 1 hour per day!
While return-to-office mandates are hitting headlines, in my view, the cat is out of the bag (or rather the worker is out of the office) and there is no putting it/them back in.
4. We Will See Exciting New Categories Emerge
Yes, job cuts are being announced today. But what new ones will emerge?
Will Chat-GPT disrupt content creators? Definitely. Will it also lead to new roles that master the technology? Probably.
A variety of emerging sectors show promise for new roles for displaced technology workers. One of them might be ‘green-collar jobs.’ ’More than 300 million additional ‘green-collar’ jobs are expected to emerge by 2050, and transitioning the workforce to have the skills needed to perform in these roles is a big undertaking.’
Lastly, the rise of innovation outside Silicon Valley continues. Future technology companies are being built remotely. So, I expect to see the number of technology jobs internationally to continue growing.
Where else do you see opportunity?
The full version of this article first appeared on Alexandre’s website here.