A generation of workers who have never witnessed a cyclical breakdown has been awakened by the industry’s recent job cutbacks, as reported by The New York Times.
When Lyft laid off 13 % of its workers in November, Kelly Chang was shocked to find herself among the 700 people who lost their jobs at the San Francisco company.
And on Friday morning, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said it planned to cut 12,000 jobs or about 6 % of its total.
Their cuts followed big layoffs at other tech companies like Meta, Amazon and Salesforce.
Millennials and Generation Z, born between 1981 and 2012, started tech careers during a decade-long expansion when jobs multiplied as fast as iPhone sales.
The companies they joined were conquering the world and defying economic rules.
Few of them had experienced widespread layoffs.
A blood bath
“It was a blood bath, and it went on for years,” said Jason DeMorrow, a software engineer who was laid off twice in 18 months and was out of work for more than six months.
Tech’s generational divide is representative of a broader phenomenon.
“Once you experience your first crash, things change,” Professor Nagel said.
“You realize bad stuff happens and maybe you should be a bit more cautious.”
For Gen X, the dot-com collapse hit early in careers.
The layoffs that swept the industry were worse than the recession of the early 1990s when total jobs in the tech sector fell by 5 %, and the global financial crisis in 2008, when the workforce contracted by 6 %.
New job opportunities
The job figures account for software, hardware, tech services and telecommunications companies, including Apple, Meta, Nvidia and Salesforce.
But they may exclude some tech-related companies, such as Airbnb, Lyft and Uber, because of ambiguity in government labor market reporting that classifies some businesses as consumer services, said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA.
New job opportunities were a factor as nearly 80 % of laid-off tech workers said they had found a new job within three months, according to a survey by ZipRecruiter.
Last fall, David Hayden, a program manager with a doctorate in physics, learned from his manager that he would be let go from nLight, a semiconductor company.
Worried about how he would pay his eldest daughter’s college tuition, he immediately reached out to recruiters to line up interviews.
“The shame of being laid off is gone,” Mr. Hayden said.
“Companies know that a lot of good people are being let go right now.”
Ms. Chang studied product design in college with an eye toward joining a tech industry that seemed recession-proof.
Erin Sumner, a software recruiter at Facebook’s parent company, Meta, used to brag to potential hires that the company had been the fastest ever to be valued at $1 trillion.
But in November, she was among 11,000 workers laid off.
During an all-hands meeting last week to discuss the company’s decision to lay off 10 % of its workers, Marc Benioff, the chief executive, tried to sympathize with his unhappy staff by putting the cuts in context.
“I’ve been through a lot of difficult times in this company.
Every loss reawakens another loss for me,” he said, according to a recording of the call heard by The New York Times.
“I think about people we’ve lost that we never wanted to lose.”
He never imagined he would lose it so soon.
Though disappointed that he was laid off, he said he was trying to view being out of work as a “blessing in disguise” and intended to be selective about his next job.
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Source: The New York Times