Why layoffs at big tech firms shouldn't make you panic in your job search

James Milligan, Global Head of Technology Solutions

For many of us, the new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, whether it’s a new hobby or a new job. It’s natural to seek out challenges or make changes to improve your life, and at Hays we see that every year in the world of work.  

The end of 2022 saw some of the world’s largest tech organisations reduce their workforce, and stories of these company-wide job losses circulated in the press and on social media. Given the recent demand for tech talent, particularly in response to the pandemic, this came as a surprise to some observers.

That’s not to say, though, that this is an unexpected development, and nor should people be put off making that leap into a new role. Given the rise in the number of jobs made available due to the pandemic, this market correction has still resulted in a higher number of tech roles than we saw pre-COVID.

Let’s look at what this means for specialists working in these roles or similar ones, as well as those looking to start their tech career.

Search our available jobs in tech here.

Key insights: layoffs at big tech

  • Although some of the world’s biggest tech firms are downsizing their workforce, this is not reflective of the job market overall.
  • Specialists who have experience in larger organisations are in demand and will continue to be.
  • There are a range of opportunities for talent that has left these companies.
  • Ensuring that skills are up to date is key to success.

Tech layoffs are not universal – but can happen at bigger firms

Although warnings of a global recession did spark fears over job losses in technology, this first truly caught the headlines following Elon Musk’s takeover at Twitter, upon which the company let go almost 75% of its workforce.

Let’s remember, however, that Musk’s behaviour is eye-catching and certainly not typical of how other CEOs operate. Nonetheless, it’s meant that any subsequent exits at other tech giants have gained further traction in the news. Redundancies have been made in other global organisations and, sadly, this is a possibility when working at tech giants that employ large workforces.

It’s worth remembering that, with regard to roles in tech, demand has long outweighed supply across the world – it’s something we’ve seen here at Hays for years now. The need for digital infrastructure was compounded by the pandemic as remote access and communication become vital. As such, since 2020 there has been unprecedented demand for people with tech skills and, even though the market is correcting itself now, there are still far more jobs than there were three years ago.

What does the future hold?

The first thing to make clear is that there will always be opportunities for people who have left companies as large as the ones who are making the news. That experience is valuable for organisations of all sizes, and tech specialists in particular are not short of offers. If this relates to you, you can be confident when applying to a new role.

Ensure that your CV reflects your experience and what you have to offer. Make sure that you’ve detailed all of your achievements in your last role (I’ve written about this in more detail here). Although it can seem daunting, you should be prepared to speak about how you left your last role in any job interviews. Your interviewer is going to be aware of what’s happening and will be understanding, but it’s important you can demonstrate how your skills were valuable to your former employer, and how you’ve developed those ahead of your next role.

What about those of you who might be concerned about job security elsewhere? Or, perhaps, thinking about embarking on a career in tech and worried about the news? Using our unique insights into the job market across the globe, I’ve already outlined the top ten in-demand tech roles for 2023. If you’re looking for work in tech, it’s vital that your skills are up to date and you’re on top of the latest developments. A willingness to learn is a huge plus point for employers as they look to fill tech roles, so make sure that you’re proving your mindset.

I also fully recommend that you listen to our podcast series, How Did You Get That Job?, in which we speak to people who’ve enjoyed success in tech and discover how they got to where they are today. Our guests come from a variety of backgrounds (not always in tech), and share their story, as well as advice for listeners on how to progress in your career. We’ve heard insights to which skills are desired by potential employers, and the approach to take when progressing in your tech career. Regardless of whether you’re a newcomer to tech, or you’ve just left a tech role at a household name, there will be guidance for you.

What next?

Whether you’ve worked at big tech, or you’re at an earlier stage of your career, I’d advise you to think about the above. Despite their success, big tech organisations are vulnerable to investor pressure and can downsize their staff to align to these expectations, so it’s something to consider when applying.

If you are interested in making the next step in your career, search our available tech jobs here.



James Milligan
Global Head of Technology Solutions

James Milligan is the Global Head of Technology Solutions at Hays, having joined in 2000. In his role, he is responsible for the strategic development of Hays' technology businesses globally.