Google, Meta, and Microsoft recently laid off tens of thousands of employees, destabilizing careers seeking students, and demonstrating an astonishing indifference among engineers to their workforce.
The promise of job security has lured ASU students like fourth-year computer science student Anthony Delphy into the tech field. However, mass layoffs have ruined his previously optimistic outlook.
“The layoff cast doubt on my choice of major.”I originally majored in animation, but I felt computer science was a safer bet. , I feel that both are about the same.”
As an alumnus, Delphy worries about increasing competition for shrinking tech job openings, a by-product of so many job cuts.
“There are now tens of thousands of programmers with years of experience ahead of me who have worked at places like Google and Meta and Microsoft,” he said.
Andreas Kostøl, Applied Economist at WP Carey School of Business, agrees that the job market after layoffs hurts new graduates the most.
“Even if you get fired, you’re going to lose the competition to experienced people because you have these companies on your resume,” he said. “A few years at Google are different compared to someone just out of college.”
As to what caused these tech layoffs, the answer lies in companies that, despite being the source of innovation, choose shareholder interests over employees.
“Investors see this talent and think all these smart people come up with great ideas and you hire them,” Kostøl said. Investors will let go until we say, ‘We need to improve it.'”
This idea that workers are disposable for big tech companies has driven Delphy’s preference for smaller startups.
“It would definitely push me towards a smaller, lesser-known, closer-knit company,” he said, adding that the lower salary would be worth it. for a moment. “
This fear of being “fired at random moments” can keep college talent away from big tech companies, as students like Delphy prefer to minimize risk.
“People are going to look elsewhere and be hesitant to take these jobs,” Costol said. I am confident it will.”
With sudden mass layoffs, Google, Meta, and Microsoft seem to have forgotten the lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic of underestimating their employees.
From desperately raising wages to keep employees loyal during a “big resignation,” to laying off employees overnight, tech companies brazenly reveal their true colors.
Ironically, by equating short-term gains with success, tech companies are completely convinced that hiring and retaining talent actually determines their longevity, rather than eating it away. Ultimately, this kind of indifference only undermines the potential long-term gains from ideas generated by smart, sustainable, and large-scale workforces.
Now, students may fear how mass layoffs have upended the tech job market. But in the future, mass layoffs may actually plague the companies themselves.
Edited by Kate Duffy, Reagan Priest and Anusha Natarajan.
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