Tech is still hiring, but the industry giants are paying for their pandemic bet.


When an industry lays off 100,000 or more people, you usually think it’s in big trouble. It’s probably not the best profession to pursue. If you are already employed, you may want to consider changing jobs.

At the very least, it will measure the depth of your passion for your work given the harsh realities of your field. Many tech workers certainly have time for that now. His 10% of the workforce here, 13% there. 18000 disappeared on Amazon. 12,000 people on Google. 11000 in meta. 10,000 at Microsoft. Is this really worth it? Do you love what you do enough to repeatedly face unemployment if necessary? (As a journalist, I can tell you these are very good questions!)

But more than 150,000 people have been laid off in the tech industry in the past six months, prompting headlines about the “new economic reality” and saying, “Tech workers have been choosing jobs for years. Those days are over.” ”, and there should be few workers who are currently spending the dark night of the soul.

As you might imagine from the pink slip-colored blood the tech giants have been bleeding over the past two months, the reality is that tech jobs are still plentiful, well-paid, and generally among the best. is part of the work of Technology and computer science continue to be the single best choice to study for college students looking for income potential and plenty of options.

It wasn’t the tech bubble that burst, it was the arrogance of big companies. Companies that quietly reveled when the pandemic required global reliance on their products have been forced to consider the fact that there is a price to pay for aggressively expanding amid global tragedy. Gone. Logically, when the tragedy starts to wane, or when people decide it’s over, or define this oddity of the pandemic, business goes down with it.

In retrospect, the term “pandemic darling” is a term attached to companies that have prospered as America retreats indoors, a moniker that’s clearly cursed. This represents a weakness inherent in the business model. So the consumer didn’t choose you, they had to take advantage of you.

The leaders of these companies have admitted their mistakes. They thought the pandemic would reshape the world and it would continue. Alphabet CEO Sundar in his Pichai memo announcing his 12,000 layoffs clearly states: To keep pace with that growth, we have adapted for economic realities that differ from those we are currently facing. ”

What Pichai doesn’t do is explain what that mistake really means or why it happened. Doing so leads to admitting deeper failures.

What none of these leaders say is that in the “last two years,” technology companies have realized they can make incredible amounts of money. At a time when everyone is afraid to leave their homes, it makes sense that the largest consumer retail delivery business would suddenly be $100 billion (a nearly 40% increase) over the previous year. If everyone’s life is literally trapped online, it makes sense that Google and Meta, both of which rely on online advertising, will see his 40% revenue growth in 2021.

But as the highly respected leaders of Google and Amazon, shouldn’t we understand that the pandemic situation is literally unprecedented? Adding 50,000 employees in less than a year so shouldn’t it be paused?

If you’re wondering why these companies didn’t ask these questions a year ago, you don’t understand the spirit behind their thinking. The Black Swan event for global health is an opportunity they can seize. Amazon’s head of retail, Doug Herrington, acknowledged essentially the same thing in a January employee memo. In Silicon Valley management, this was perfectly logical. If you truly believe in your own business, and in moments of global terror everyone turns to you with gratitude, then it’s simply validating your company’s premise. I caught up with your genius.

In October 2021, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella really felt the moment. “All the disruption and suffering that the pandemic has wreaked on our lives and communities has also become a catalyst for an unprecedented digital transformation. and create significant new opportunities for our customers and Microsoft,” he wrote in our annual shareholder letter. “This moment was made for Microsoft.”

What Nadella and his peers hadn’t asked in the moment was whether rising ad spending and massive growth in cloud adoption were signs to worry about. followed by capital flowing into the economy, prolonging an era of bottom-line interest rates and creating cheap debt that could easily be swallowed in the name of growth. (Now that interest rates are higher, you can’t find cheap cash anymore.)

And if you’re making all these assumptions, you’re also going to adopt them all. Because more adoption means you’re taking advantage of the moment. This is a way to tell the world, and more importantly, investors who continue to push your stock to new heights, that you believe this is not temporary.

If leaders were really paying attention, one company’s arc foreshadowed the current problem: Netflix. It experienced a surge and broke past growth records. Unlike other companies, its leaders were quick to warn investors that this growth would likely be reflected by a decline. And they were right. The company hadn’t yet realized just how bad the fall would be. When In addition to the layoffs, they cracked down on password sharing, but at least they were well aware that subscriber growth wouldn’t last forever. If not, of course I was going to sign up. Everything was a hostage situation.

It’s not that the technology itself is completely unpopular, structural and unimportant. We live in what is defined as the Internet age. A global tragedy has left everyone hostage to these particular corporations, whose vaunted history makes false assumptions about the future. workers are paying the price.

Compare Nadella’s previous confidence with his memo last week announcing 10,000 layoffs. “Each of us, and every team across the company, must raise the bar and outperform the competition,” he wrote. “It’s as simple as that.”

But in some ways, these companies have achieved what they set out to do. They have made us reliant on technology extensively in the way we build our world.Today, more than half of all tech jobs are actually outside of major tech companies. Every other industry relies on the same kinds of work that takes place within these companies, but only those industries benefited less when their entire customer base was confined to their living room. Did. Finance is not going anywhere. Most finance jobs are technical jobs. Logistics is one of the world’s most vexing problems. Solutions are technical solutions.

The labor market has finally started to cool off from the record highs of 2021, but the market added about 223,000 jobs in December. This is almost double the 145,000 jobs he added in December 2019 before the pandemic began. For those still worried about tech workers being laid off from the world’s most famous companies, here’s a quick list of jobs I found in his 30-second browse. 850 positions at Deloitte. Four hundred and forty-five at Ford.

The people who run these tech companies can find jobs if they want and get paid well for their work. What changes is that they may never return to the tech giants with the glowing halo of fame and prestige.With these layoffs, even the people inside the once-sanctified halls, the corporations themselves are, after all, just enterprise.




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