The Reasons Behind the Massive Tech Layoffs 


In the past few months, people around the world have watched as major tech companies laid off thousands of workers seemingly out of nowhere. These tech layoffs peaked at 107,840 people in January of 2023. What a way to start the year!


You may be thinking, there is no way FAANG, Twitter, Zoom, eBay, etc. can lay off so many people in such a short amount of time without any consequences. But the layoffs themselves were the consequence, and mark the effect of tech companies’ chase for profit. During quarantine, many people started to work, shop, and find entertainment at home. Tech executives of companies, who unlike many other fields could provide their services remotely,  started cashing in on this rapid growth and hired thousands of workers to match the pace of the customers. As the world started to slowly shift back from quarantine, returning in large amounts to in-person work, shopping, and entertainment, the demand for these services declined, and to cut costs and maximize profits, tech companies began to lay off workers.


As for the large number of lay-offs, an explanation could come from “copycat behavior.” The large scale of these actions do not make much sense, as layoffs are harmful to employees’ mental and physical well-being, and overall do not improve company performance or cut costs substantially; even without layoffs, “these companies are all making money.” So why did so many companies follow suit in laying off their workers? According to an interview with Professor Jeffery Pfeffer from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the layoffs are a “result of imitative behavior,” in other words, companies are laying off workers because other companies are doing the same. 


The future for the thousands of laid-off workers depends on the job they previously held – which looks promising for those from these major tech companies. People who have experience with technology, software, and other in-demand skills can still find work opportunities outside of the big corporate landscape. Software engineers, cloud architects, data scientists, IT, and other specialized jobs can fit right into smaller companies, start ups, and other industries like education, health care, and the government. Tech professionals, especially those with ample experience under their belt, are still overwhelmingly in demand. According to a ZipRecruiter survey, around 80% of laid-off tech workers found new roles within 3 months of being laid off. 


In the end, while the tech industry is not on a decline or in a recession, the dream of a cushy Big Tech job may have lost its shine. Silicon Valley will still be a hub of tech giants, but the trust in these companies when it comes to employment has certainly declined. However, for those with tech, their talent is still ‘desperately needed,’ from non-tech industries to small and medium sized tech companies. If you want to go into tech, do not let these layoffs scare you; just do not let uber-giant tech companies be your only end goal.