The technology industry is now full of frowning faces. Stock and cryptocurrency prices are sinking and anxiety is rising. It feels like every day brings news about some tech company or start-up firing workers or stopping hiring. This was repeated on Tuesday when Coinbase, the crypto exchange, said it was reducing its workforce by 18 per cent.
The pain is real for people who lose their jobs, but there is a bigger picture behind it: the job market is burning in tech companies and for people with high tech skills, and it stays that way – at least for now.
Unemployment rates in the US for high-tech jobs range from vulnerable to non-existent. As soon as one company announces a layoff or hiring for people with these skills, ZipRecruiter sees other employers looking to find and hire them, says Julia Pollack, a labor economist on the career website. On average, every job seeker looking for a job makes more than two job offers, staffing firm Robert Half told me.
“When people say that everything is slowing down, I ask, ‘What data is this based on?'” Said Ryan Sutton, the district president in charge of Robert Half’s technology. “Everyone wants to say that the stock market has fallen. “Well, the stock market is not always a hiring rate.”
People who specialize in hiring technical jobs have told me that hiring has slowed in some areas as the stock market has shrunk and fears of an impending recession have grown.
But they say that now, the worst thing you can say about the tech job market is that it has gone from insane to just nuts.
The market for all types of workers with technical talents and technical companies is so hot that even job-seeking specialists are relentlessly sought after. Almost every time Georgina Fraser, a real estate startup recruiter at Divvy Homes, talks to potential new hiring candidates this year, they try to convince Fraser that she worked for their company.
There are two major reasons why workers remain in demand. There is a long-term trend that companies want to hire more tech workers and the number of qualified candidates has not kept pace. In addition, hiring at many tech companies is also rampant from the first months of the pandemic, when many companies froze hiring or firing employees, only when their business had not collapsed.
Susan Dominus, a writer for The New York Times Magazine, in an excellent article published in February, captured the power of technical workers to move from job to job and demand and often receive the compensation and working conditions they want.
“I was really surprised by one technical employer who accidentally left nothing,” Dominus told me. “Even if someone accepted the offer, he continued to hire, only if that person finished a second time, another better offer came.”
There are signs that the tech hire has cooled to the brim. Shauna Sverland, chief executive of recruitment firm Fuel Talent in Seattle, said she saw some large tech companies abruptly suspend plans to hire for specific positions – sometimes ending conversations in the second or third round of job interviews.
Several companies such as Coinbase, Twitter and Redfin have canceled a small number of job offers from the people who accepted them. Tech hiring experts said canceled job offers are unusual when there is no widespread crisis such as a recession or pandemic. Some companies, as Coinbase said Tuesday, may have hired too many people too quickly last year when the technology was booming.
Stephanie Cicone-Nascimento, who teaches technical workers, said she was surprised recently when the company offered a bonus from a candidate she worked with. “The job offer was left.” “It has changed a lot.”
Having slightly less power than employers may feel disorienting to tech workers, but do not worry too much about them.
More people are employed in technology-related professions than there were at this point a year ago, according to U.S. government data on several categories of technical work that ZipRecruiter’s Pollak analyzed for me. Even Elon Musk, who said this month that he was worried about the economy and that Tesla needed to hire a salary, also said the carmaker was likely to have more employees a year than it does now.
Sutton said about half of the tech workers Robert Half talks about have not changed jobs in several years. He said they were probably getting less than new hires because the technical pay had increased over the last two years. (Yes, he says many high-paying tech staff may be underpaid.)
Ciccone-Nascimento said it advises techies to stay on with their current job if they can, but he also sees the moment as a manic demand for technology specialists in many fields. “There is always work to be done,” he said.
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Before we go…
Is the delivery of the drone package real this time? Amazon said it planned to launch its first drone delivery in the United States this year. (The company does not yet have permission from regulators to do this.) It will be about nine years since Jeff Bezos said Amazon drone delivery could become a reality in four or five years.
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How Virtual Reality Can Help Children with Autism: Gautham Nagesh writes for The New York Times about a company that develops virtual reality lessons to help behavioral therapists, speech therapists, special educators, and parents working with autistic children.
The lawyer and grandmother in the Pittsburgh area had no idea he had beaten three professional players in pickball. A group photo with “these guys” was spread on the internet. (Pickleball is a tennis-like ball. I had to see it.)
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