Tech is a dynamic industry by its very nature, and the skills that are in high demand today may be obsolete in a year or two. This industry, then, is no stranger to workforce disruptions, including the large-scale layoffs sweeping the industry in recent months.
But things might be a bit different this time around, some observers predict.
Obsolescence Driving Layoff Decisions?
While previous layoffs may have represented temporary reductions in staff or reorganizations driven primarily by market conditions, at least some staff reductions in the latest round of tech downsizing may be driven by obsolescence. In other words, some tech jobs aren’t just going away for now.
They might disappear forever.
“Companies from Meta to Microsoft to Salesforce have cut jobs in recent months, often in the pursuit of efficiency and increased profit margins,” writes Matt Turner in an article for Yahoo Finance. “By some estimates, more than 250,000 tech workers have been laid off since the start of 2022. There have been many more roles that have gone unfilled as these industry giants slow down on hiring. Recent data from Indeed shows a more than 50% decline in software-development job postings compared to a year ago.”
Over-hiring Another Driver
Over-hiring by tech companies during the COVID-19 pandemic—when so much of our daily lives was forced online—has also been a key driver of the current round of tech layoffs, as companies downsize to get closer to their pre-pandemic staffing levels.
But as new AI technologies help human workers significantly increase their productivity or replace them altogether in some cases, it’s likely that tech companies simply don’t need as many human staff today as they did just a few years ago, all else being equal.
As advances in AI and other technologies continues to improve, expect to see this trend continue.
Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.