Over 60,000 layoffs have occurred in big tech companies during 2022, with more to come. Add to that an impending recession, high interest rates and high inflation and you have a real dilemma. What are your options as we move into 2023? Here are some thoughts.
When the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates, the cost of capital improvement becomes too high and technology companies back off of expansion. In some cases, companies will pull back current plans, reorganize or consolidate operations causing a hiring freeze or cutback. However, some segments of the tech market are still strong. The opportunities for technology jobs continue but maybe in a different segment of the marketplace: Cybersecurity, data analysis, DevOps, cloud computing, machine learning, low-code platforms, automation, data science, artificial intelligence, big data and digital/social media marketing.
Most of the technology functions and skills require higher level experience and in some cases a certification, but all are within the reach of experienced tech professionals. It means a different focus and/or skills that are easily transferred.
The other option is to take the skills and experience you already have and apply them to a different sector of the marketplace. Instead of the big giants of the industry like Amazon, Meta, Twitter, Microsoft, Tesla, Cisco, Salesforce, or Intel, look at a different application of your skills. Examples are: Healthcare – Develop, analysis and maintain systems, especially telehealth; Government – both state and federal agencies needing technology innovators; Education at all levels – from public, private, high school and college; Smaller business – find a new job at a higher level (reporting to an officer) and for the same pay as your old one. Smaller businesses can’t afford a large staff which creates an opportunity to gain broader experiences in addition to your narrower specialty.
Most layoffs include a severance period of multiple weeks or months, continuation of your health insurance, maybe help with your job search and resume, so time between employment isn’t too much of a burden. Another short-term option is to work part-time for organizations that need your skill sets for a short period of time, or a consulting project that will last for a few months while you continue your job search. Also, if you ever thought about starting your own business, now might be a good time to give it a try while your being supported with a severance package. This is especially true if you can work remotely.
Workers with an H-1B visa have a special problem as the law gives them a 60-day period to be employed again with a company that accepts foreign workers. However, ask early in the interviewing process about your visa status as some companies can’t hire H-1B workers.
One of the differences about this high-tech layoff is it’s not about skills, competence or performance. Most layoffs currently are organizational wide and is focused on segments of the market, vertical or horizontal teams, or product lines that are being eliminated or reduced.
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