Mass layoffs and hiring freezes: Tech workers report huge drops in confidence in job security

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Just 9% of tech workers are feeling confident in their job security, according to a June survey from Blind, the anonymous professional networking site.

No doubt, job-market fears are being fueled by months of headlines about hiring freezes, job offers being rescinded and mass layoffs from burgeoning upstarts and tech giants alike, including Robinhood and Oracle just this week.

More than 32,000 people have been laid off from the U.S. tech sector in 2022, according to Crunchbase data.

Today's lack of confidence in the job market marks a 180-degree shift from just months ago, says Rick Chen, head of PR for Blind. Back in March, some 80% of tech workers were confident in the job market and were considering looking for a new job.

Layoff news is making tech workers across several industries feel skittish, especially those in e-commerce, real estate and businesses tied closely to the stock market, which saw a boom during Covid recovery in 2021 but massive volatility in today's economy.

Workers' job stability worries have skyrocketed at companies that announced layoffs in recent months. As of the Blind survey, conducted on June 20 and 21, companies with the highest shares of concerned workers included Compass, where 95% felt less confident about their job security compared to a year ago, as well as Twitter (91%), Robinhood (90%), Instacart (90%) and Coinbase (83%).

Workers are taking their concerns online, Chen says: Discussions of hiring freezes and layoffs doubled in the first quarter of 2022 compared with 2021, while discussions including the term "recession" have increased 15-fold.

Despite layoffs, tech workers are 'being snapped up in weeks'

Broad pessimism stands in contrast with a still-hot labor market, economists say. Hiring and quits remain near record highs, while June layoffs remained just under 1% of the workforce.

Workers may not have as much bargaining power as early 2022, but Chen says tech workers are still well-positioned to look for a new job or land on their feet if they're laid off.

"We're finding companies are still hiring, and the people we're placing are being snapped up in weeks," Chen says, referring to activity on Blind's recruiting marketplace. And as of June, 64% of tech leaders say it's getting harder or significantly harder to find skilled workers for their open job positions, according to a CNBC survey.

Alister Shirazi, 34, works as an engineering project manager with Apple on a contract basis. Though his contract is up in November, he's "not at all" concerned about continuing to work for the tech giant or lining up a new job afterward.

For one, he's noticed his boss continues to discuss how hard it is to hire and retain employees to keep her team appropriately staffed. Shirazi expects his contract will be extended, or he could be brought on as a full-time employee.

He also sees recent layoffs as temporary: "We just came off of a huge boom in hiring in the tech sector," Shirazi says. "Booms are usually followed by busts, but then busts are followed again by booms."

Shirazi expects established companies will win out by scooping up tech workers leaving riskier startups: "I don't see these layoffs as a time where people are going to spend a lot of time sitting at home," he says.

How to future-proof your new job

If you're considering a move, Chen recommends you take this time to reflect on what you want most out of your career. "During good times, people were leaving every 12 to 18 months on average and searching for roles with higher pay and compensation," he says. "Now is a good time to take stock of what matters most to you, whether that's work-life balance, remote work, a flexible work schedule or opportunities to level up in your skills or career."

You might also ask more questions to gauge a prospective company's stability: "Be wary of descriptions like 'hyper-growth' in the job description and dig deeper," says Ginny Cheng, a coach with Career Contessa. "Learn more about the steps they are doing to support employee retention or how they are growing responsibly."

As for the future of tech jobs, "every company is a tech company," Chen adds, "and they need programmers and data scientists and product folks to create digital products and services. There is security in tech roles."

Check out:

4.2 million people quit in June despite recession worries: 'A paradox in our economy'

What's a good salary or raise to ask for right now? How to find your number in this wild job market

3 reasons your recruiter ghosted you, according to a hiring pro

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How this 21-year-old earns and spends $93,000 a year in Chicago
How this 21-year-old earns and spends $93,000 a year in Chicago