Layoff Timing

 

It feels weird to me to read about the tech sector having mass layoffs.

I first read about them months ago, where the general understanding (among sources I read) is the general contraction of the tech sector, perhaps back to sanity, perhaps back to par with other large companies. There even is a tracking website going back to the beginning of Corona: http://layoffs.fyi/ — some of the tracked companies are just startups that, like any company, can fail. But GoFundMe laid off 12% at the end of October, and you just need to keep scrolling to see more names you might know.

So why are we hearing about tech sector problems now? I knew about these hiring freezes and impending reviews MONTHS ago. Do we just have a perfect storm now that the media can blame it all on Elon Musk? Now the media can have headlines like “Meta follows Musk, lays off employees” so people can put blame on Musk?

Or am I a cynic and misreading the numbers?

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  1. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    The tech sector is simply high-profile because to make meaningful cuts, they have to cut (presumably) well-educated professionals.  Lots of other industries tighten their balance sheet with employees for whom the media has little or no sympathy.  Therefore, no coverage.  Especially since any coverage would be spun to reflect badly on the current administration.

    So.  A bevy of angst-filled articles on the demise of the tech sector.

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/something-has-snapped-unexplained-23-million-jobs-gap-emerges-broken-payrolls-report

    • #2
  3. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    If there had been reports of hiring freezes and RIF’s they would have contributed to the construct of a non-transient slowdown in the economy at the same time there was experience of non-transient inflation. They’ve delayed any questions until the election.
    We have talked about the impact on company growth and productivity of the many work from home, unsupervised more or less experienced college grads. (I do feel bad for the new hires who had no one to train them for 2+ years, nor get to know them as potentially valuable employees, nor take an interest in them. They’ve lost 2 +years of experience they could start to use about now.) There have been a lot of “projects” funded by the easy growth of the Trump years – projects not actually getting to production and/or products or services customers actually want to pay for.  The government subsidies went to a lot of who knew what, since no one was actually in the office. 

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Wasn’t it a mistake for them to do this right before the election?  Seems like a lot of those fired/laid-off people might just be inclined to vote for The Other Side.

    Let’s hope!

    • #4
  5. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I saw in that chart that the Twitter layoffs of 3700 amounted to 50%.  Twitter thought they needed over 7,000 employees for some reason?!?!?!?

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I saw in that chart that the Twitter layoffs of 3700 amounted to 50%. Twitter thought they needed over 7,000 employees for some reason?!?!?!?

     I don’t understand why they need more than 500.

    • #6
  7. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    There were massive tech layoffs when the Dot-Com bubble burst in 2000, as I recalled. Mind, in tech years 22 calendar years is more like 176 tech years, so it is unsurprising no one in tech remembers it.

    My experience is no matter what industry, massive layoffs eventually occur. The only solution is to be capable of switching industries when you are the one hit.

    • #7
  8. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Can you site more info? I don’t follow this sector but are there multiple factors?  There seems to be more plants opening like the Intel plant in Ohio etc. Social media? I don’t consider that a tech sector but ok…….I’m not sold on Musk being the constant barometer of everything like so many do.  In fact, beyond that he’s brilliant, I don’t trust him and anything he says, that there isn’t a plan behind his plans…….

    Also, META should have a reduction.  These social media sites are too big and have too much control.  

    • #8
  9. Hugh Member
    Hugh
    @Hugh

    I wonder how many Dem-supporting companies are waiting until after the mid-terms to announce their layoffs?

    • #9
  10. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    • #10
  11. TomJedrz Member
    TomJedrz
    @TomJedrz

    It’s not really all that weird; it is the third of fourth one I can remember.  Tech sector layoffs are frequently “bigger” (as in more people or a higher fraction) because startups flush with investor cash hire people quickly to try and deliver growth, and effectively grow a bubble.  They then rinse and repeat until the bubble bursts.  Twitter and Facebook are the biggest examples of this, but it is the pattern at many startups.

    Facebook apparently has a big layoff coming. Google has been hinting.  Microsoft, Apple and Oracle are more mature, so recent/coming layoffs there have been smaller and more targeted. 

    Are companies waiting until after the election?  Perhaps.  If so, I think they are waiting to see the results before deciding on a path.

    • #11
  12. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The lay offs is basically just the companies taking power back from the employee that the employee got during the pandemic.  This is all about killing off WFH or remote work and bringing people back into the office to be under the man’s thumb.  Have to generate worker fear and terror to get the best out of them.   Elon Musk is leading the way and the other’s are tossing in to let him take the heat.  

    You can see the force the worker back into the office and turn them back into wage slaves everywhere.  Like here

    https://www.inc.com/kelly-main/google-simple-strategy-increase-productivity.html

     

    • #12
  13. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    The lay offs is basically just the companies taking power back from the employee that the employee got during the pandemic. This is all about killing off WFH or remote work and bringing people back into the office to be under the man’s thumb. Have to generate worker fear and terror to get the best out of them. Elon Musk is leading the way and the other’s are tossing in to let him take the heat.

    You can see the force the worker back into the office and turn them back into wage slaves everywhere. Like here

    https://www.inc.com/kelly-main/google-simple-strategy-increase-productivity.html

     

    You make it sound like a bad thing.

     

    • #13
  14. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Don’t know where I got this link, might have been R>. Regardless, it’s appropriate.

    https://compactmag.com/article/the-email-caste-s-last-stand

    It advances the idea that the Techs aren’t laying off productive people, but rather the persuasives that accumulate around anything new and successful. If true, it’s a very welcome development.

    • #14
  15. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Don’t know where I got this link, might have been R>. Regardless, it’s appropriate.

    https://compactmag.com/article/the-email-caste-s-last-stand

    It advances the idea that the Techs aren’t laying off productive people, but rather the persuasives that accumulate around anything new and successful. If true, it’s a very welcome development.

    You’ll know things are serious when the layoffs include senior executives from HR and the affiliated salary sinks. 

    • #15
  16. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Don’t know where I got this link, might have been R>. Regardless, it’s appropriate.

    https://compactmag.com/article/the-email-caste-s-last-stand

    It advances the idea that the Techs aren’t laying off productive people, but rather the persuasives that accumulate around anything new and successful. If true, it’s a very welcome development.

    You’ll know things are serious when the layoffs include senior executives from HR and the affiliated salary sinks.

    Women and Minorities Hardest Hit?

    • #16
  17. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Don’t know where I got this link, might have been R>. Regardless, it’s appropriate.

    https://compactmag.com/article/the-email-caste-s-last-stand

    It advances the idea that the Techs aren’t laying off productive people, but rather the persuasives that accumulate around anything new and successful. If true, it’s a very welcome development.

    You’ll know things are serious when the layoffs include senior executives from HR and the affiliated salary sinks.

    Women and Minorities Hardest Hit?

    Collateral damage. 

    • #17
  18. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    Those people can stay where they are in India and Big Tech firms will now be glad to employ them. What I have been reading is that once people started working from home, the Big Companies started to re-evaluate the idea of having physical bodies sitting in expensive real estate.

    New York City now has massive amounts of prime office space sitting empty.

    If workers do not need to come into the office, then it makes cents for the Big Companies to simply hire offshore.

    United Health Care has replaced the wonderful warm, middle aged people who gave the help you needed with young people in the Philippines. Because the company doesn’t trust their abilities to handle several problems, everything has been “stream lined.” It is almost so bad that one worker takes your first name, and then a second person in a different section of customer “care” takes your surname.

    Prior to this change, it was possible to call and get 4 or 5 problems handled by one person in ten minutes and now it takes 45. Because at least  two different people have to handle it. The customer also decides not to press it and get problem 4 or 5 handled as it will take another half hour to get the extra problems handled.

    ####

     

    • #18
  19. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    Those people can stay where they are in India and Big Tech firms will now be glad to employ them.

    Actually:

    Over the weekend, Twitter’s workforce of about 200 in India was cut down to about 12 staff…Around 70% of the layoffs in India hit employees in the product and engineering department..staff working in marketing, corporate communications, and public policy in India were also fired.

    I don’t know if they were doing nothing worthwhile, or whether the roles will come back via subcontractor – in India or elsewhere.

    United Health Care has replaced the wonderful warm, middle aged people who gave the help you needed with young people in the Philippines. Because the company doesn’t trust their abilities to handle several problems, everything has been “stream lined.” It is almost so bad that one worker takes your first name, and then a second person in a different section of customer “care” takes your surname.

    Prior to this change, it was possible to call and get 4 or 5 problems handled by one person in ten minutes and now it takes 45. Because at least two different people have to handle it. The customer also decides not to press it and get problem 4 or 5 handled as it will take another half hour to get the extra problems handled.

    ####

    I hate the deliberate dumbofication of this kind of job.  It may make sense on paper but it hardly ever does in real life.

    • #19
  20. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    Those people can stay where they are in India and Big Tech firms will now be glad to employ them.

    Actually:

    Over the weekend, Twitter’s workforce of about 200 in India was cut down to about 12 staff…Around 70% of the layoffs in India hit employees in the product and engineering department..staff working in marketing, corporate communications, and public policy in India were also fired.

    I don’t know if they were doing nothing worthwhile, or whether the roles will come back via subcontractor – in India or elsewhere.

    United Health Care has replaced the wonderful warm, middle aged people who gave the help you needed with young people in the Philippines. Because the company doesn’t trust their abilities to handle several problems, everything has been “stream lined.” It is almost so bad that one worker takes your first name, and then a second person in a different section of customer “care” takes your surname.

    Prior to this change, it was possible to call and get 4 or 5 problems handled by one person in ten minutes and now it takes 45. Because at least two different people have to handle it. The customer also decides not to press it and get problem 4 or 5 handled as it will take another half hour to get the extra problems handled.

    ####

    I hate the deliberate dumbofication of this kind of job. It may make sense on paper but it hardly ever does in real life.

    All that matter is if they can make money.  Customer satisfaction does not.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    Those people can stay where they are in India and Big Tech firms will now be glad to employ them.

    Actually:

    Over the weekend, Twitter’s workforce of about 200 in India was cut down to about 12 staff…Around 70% of the layoffs in India hit employees in the product and engineering department..staff working in marketing, corporate communications, and public policy in India were also fired.

    I don’t know if they were doing nothing worthwhile, or whether the roles will come back via subcontractor – in India or elsewhere.

    United Health Care has replaced the wonderful warm, middle aged people who gave the help you needed with young people in the Philippines. Because the company doesn’t trust their abilities to handle several problems, everything has been “stream lined.” It is almost so bad that one worker takes your first name, and then a second person in a different section of customer “care” takes your surname.

    Prior to this change, it was possible to call and get 4 or 5 problems handled by one person in ten minutes and now it takes 45. Because at least two different people have to handle it. The customer also decides not to press it and get problem 4 or 5 handled as it will take another half hour to get the extra problems handled.

    ####

    I hate the deliberate dumbofication of this kind of job. It may make sense on paper but it hardly ever does in real life.

    All that matter is if they can make money. Customer satisfaction does not.

    Customer satisfaction is very important to repeat business.

    • #21
  22. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Lets bring in another million from India on H1B visas.

    Those people can stay where they are in India and Big Tech firms will now be glad to employ them.

    Actually:

    Over the weekend, Twitter’s workforce of about 200 in India was cut down to about 12 staff…Around 70% of the layoffs in India hit employees in the product and engineering department..staff working in marketing, corporate communications, and public policy in India were also fired.

    I don’t know if they were doing nothing worthwhile, or whether the roles will come back via subcontractor – in India or elsewhere.

    United Health Care has replaced the wonderful warm, middle aged people who gave the help you needed with young people in the Philippines. Because the company doesn’t trust their abilities to handle several problems, everything has been “stream lined.” It is almost so bad that one worker takes your first name, and then a second person in a different section of customer “care” takes your surname.

    Prior to this change, it was possible to call and get 4 or 5 problems handled by one person in ten minutes and now it takes 45. Because at least two different people have to handle it. The customer also decides not to press it and get problem 4 or 5 handled as it will take another half hour to get the extra problems handled.

    ####

    I hate the deliberate dumbofication of this kind of job. It may make sense on paper but it hardly ever does in real life.

    All that matter is if they can make money. Customer satisfaction does not.

    Customer satisfaction is very important to repeat business.

    What repeat business?  Many companies are monopolies or cartels.  Especially with medicine.   Example.  In my area if you need a urologist then there is only one place to go.  Nobody else is in the business, they have run all the competition out.  So you go to them and be satisfied.  More and more of these situations arise as economics, politics, legalities work.

    • #22
  23. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/something-has-snapped-unexplained-23-million-jobs-gap-emerges-broken-payrolls-report

    Aside from the obvious numbers manipulation, and anecdotally, we’ve been hiring for telecommunications workers and project managers, business analysts, in the last year, and are getting mostly garbage resumes in.  Out of 20 or so resumes, only 5 candidates for a PM were worth looking at, and I mean just looking at.  The rest were the best we got in, but were completely unqualified – in some cases, not at all qualified.

    It wasn’t like this 3 years ago, for whatever that’s worth.  If you’re looking for work, there seems to be no end to the opportunities, and I get hit up on LinkedIn 2-3 times a week now for work, which is very different from a year ago.  Note that much of the work is contract, not permanent, but that’s also typical for project manager work.

    Again, all anecdotal, and I don’t know what it means.  Something has shifted, certainly, not just in the tech sector, and much of it is related to the pandemic and working from home.  Our company is scrambling to end office space leases and selling real estate off, to consolidate, and embrace a hybrid work model (part time in the office in a temporary space, part time at home).

    If you’re trying to build project teams, doing it remotely is probably the worst way to do it.  Yet here we are.

    • #23
  24. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I saw in that chart that the Twitter layoffs of 3700 amounted to 50%. Twitter thought they needed over 7,000 employees for some reason?!?!?!?

    I don’t understand why they need more than 500.

    That’s small potatoes. Meta laid off 11,000 today — and that was only 13% of their workforce, apparently. 

    • #24
  25. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I saw in that chart that the Twitter layoffs of 3700 amounted to 50%. Twitter thought they needed over 7,000 employees for some reason?!?!?!?

    I don’t understand why they need more than 500.

    That’s small potatoes. Meta laid off 11,000 today — and that was only 13% of their workforce, apparently.

    That’s what I expected more of them to do, wait until after the election.

    I wonder if any of the 11,000 would have voted differently yesterday, if they’d known.

    • #25
  26. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    My feeling is that a lot of the tech companies were so profitable for so long, that they got bloated with poor investments in projects that would never pay off. Now that interest rates are high, and stock market way down they are having to reduce costs because their revenues are not increasing. Google is terrifically profitable due to search and loses money on everything else it does. Ad revenue for search is not growing near as fast anymore because Google has captured 70% of the market.

    • #26
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