Recruiting, Technology

Tech Layoffs May Offer Opportunities for Other Employers

In recent months, the tech industry has faced a significant upheaval, marked by a series of high-profile layoffs from leading companies such as Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon. These layoffs, affecting thousands of skilled professionals, have not only unsettled the tech sector but also sparked a broader conversation about the future of work in an increasingly digital economy.

While the immediate impact has been one of uncertainty and challenge for those directly affected, for industries outside the traditional tech sphere these layoffs present a unique opportunity to attract talent that was once the exclusive domain of Silicon Valley giants. There’s opportunity for firms in non-tech industries to leverage the current tech sector downturn to enhance their own innovation and growth strategies.

These recent tech layoffs represent an opportunity for employers looking for highly skilled, adaptable, and technologically savvy professionals.

Opportunities for Hiring Highly Skilled Talent

The recent spate of layoffs within the tech industry has prompted a reevaluation of the value and versatility of tech skills in the broader job market. As companies across various sectors scramble to digitize operations and innovate their services, the sudden availability of tech talent could not have come at a more opportune time.

Attorney Jonathan Feniak highlights the inherent adaptability of tech professionals, shaped by their experiences in a fast-paced and demanding field. “Tech skills are transferable across nearly every role because these professionals have learned to deal with rapid changes, seemingly insurmountable deadlines, and tricky team dynamics,” says Feniak. “It’s a high-pressure role in which you constantly deal with roadblocks and unexpected challenges, so people become very astute problem solvers who thrive on virtually any team.”

This adaptability is precisely what makes laid-off tech workers so valuable to industries beyond their original domain. Dr. Scott Katzman of NJ Spine & Orthopedic further underscores this point, viewing the layoffs not as a loss but as a strategic hiring opportunity for sectors like healthcare, which are increasingly reliant on technology. “Layoffs are a great hiring opportunity because tech skills transfer across virtually every industry,” says Katzman. “I work in the healthcare industry, and we need tech workers to develop remote healthcare platforms, design extended reality for clinical training or treatment, and help us harness the vast sources of medical data at our fingertips. And that’s just in healthcare—we’re seeing these needs grow everywhere. Wherever technology can be introduced, there’s room for a tech worker to thrive.”

The insights from Feniak and Katzman illuminate a crucial aspect of the current employment landscape: the tech layoffs, while disruptive, may also represent a moment of potential for both displaced workers and industries in need of their skills. As companies outside the tech sector recognize and seize this opportunity, they not only stand to benefit from the unique competencies of these professionals but also contribute to a broader redistribution of tech talent across the economy, fostering innovation and growth in new and unexpected areas.

Potential Challenges Bringing Tech Workers into Non-Tech Roles

While the influx of tech talent into the job market presents a significant opportunity for various industries, it’s not without its challenges and limitations. The transition of tech workers into non-tech roles, although promising, is nuanced by factors such as the specificity of tech skills and the salary expectations of these highly skilled professionals.

Brooke Webber, Head of Marketing at Ninja Patches, sheds light on the competitive nature of the tech job market, even amid widespread layoffs. “Most companies are still looking to backfill tech roles, so most available workers are likely to stay in tech-related roles because their hands hold the bargaining power,” she says. “Those who stay in tech may find their new roles far different than the last because every industry grows more reliant on tech. Many tech skills are transferable across industries because their core duties remain similar whether working for a healthcare supplier or a clothing retailer. They all need people to help build and secure systems, code apps, integrate AI, and more.”

The issue of salary expectations further complicates the hiring landscape. “Realistically, employers should expect to continue to pay a premium for technical talent despite the volatile market,” explains Sarah Doughty, Vice President of Talent Operations at TalentLab. “Tech salaries didn’t drop significantly in 2023. If anything, we saw a slowdown in terms of the massive increases we saw in years prior but no meaningful downturn.”

Webber and Doughty highlight the dual challenges of skill transferability and salary expectations that companies outside the tech industry face when hiring tech talent. While the potential for innovation and growth by integrating these professionals is vast, successfully doing so requires strategic and thoughtful approaches.

Strategies for Companies Interested in Hiring Laid-off Tech Workers

To effectively harness the potential of laid-off tech workers, companies must adopt strategic approaches that address both the opportunities and challenges these candidates present. Will Yang, Head of Growth & Customer Success at Instrumentl, suggests companies should think creatively when it comes to addressing unrealistic salary expectations. “Options could include higher variable compensation tied to performance or equity participation for startups,” he offers.

Webber emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive offer to attract tech talent. “Don’t expect to land tech experts at a discount,” she advises. “Offer as much financial incentive as possible and fill out your offering with non-monetary rewards.” Webber suggests that beyond competitive salaries, companies should enhance their value proposition with benefits like work flexibility and a better work-life balance, which can be decisive factors for candidates choosing between potential employers.

These strategies underscore the need for companies to be innovative and flexible in their hiring practices. By aligning compensation packages with the high value that tech professionals can bring and enriching job offers with non-monetary benefits, firms can make themselves more attractive to this highly skilled talent pool, turning the challenge of tech layoffs into a strategic advantage for their own growth and innovation.

The recent tech layoffs offer a unique opportunity for non-tech industries to attract skilled professionals, driving innovation and growth. By strategically addressing challenges and leveraging the diverse skill sets of tech workers, companies can turn this moment of flux into a significant advantage for their future.

Lin Grensing-Pophal is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.

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