The tech world has been rocked by mass layoffs as giants like Meta, Elon Musk’s Twitter and Amazon shed jobs amid economic uncertainty.
In 2022 alone, IT workers accounted for more than half of all layoffs since Covid-19, according to layoffs.fyi, a tracking website.
“Technology companies of all shapes and sizes are reorganizing, scrutinizing costs and ultimately downsizing,” said Erin Lau, director of services operations at human resources consulting firm Insperity.
This creates a tight labor market that is “flooded with unemployed professionals and qualified candidates,” he added.
Apart from intense competition, job seekers also face the challenge of acquiring “adaptive skills” to meet the needs of the fast-changing tech industry, said LinkedIn’s career expert Pooja Chhabria.
“Companies are constantly in disruption mode, so today’s job requirements may change tomorrow. That’s why employers are eager to hire agile tech talent — who not only meet a specific need today, but also have the future-proof skills to meet the needs of the future.” , he added.
CNBC Make It spoke with career experts who have advice for laid-off tech workers looking for a new job in a tough economy.
1. Invest in skills development
Skills are now the “new currency” in the workplace, Chhabria said, and companies are adopting a skills-first hiring approach.
“In the past year, 40% of recruiters on LinkedIn have openly used skills data to find talent, up 20% year-over-year.”
“Even more telling is that these employers are 60% more likely to make a successful hire because of this change in approach.”
To differentiate yourself from the competition out there, Chhabria suggested focusing on “growth areas where investments are being made.”
“For example, we’ve seen huge investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so skills like SQL, Python and AWS are the most in-demand skills in software and IT, with significant growth since 2015.”
Don’t neglect your transferable skills if you’re looking to update your skills or perhaps advance your career, he added.
“Often you don’t need to completely update your skills to move into the job or industry you want, and you can have similar skills needed to change your career.”
Career expert Vicki Salemi of Monster.com said setting up a job alert can also help identify learning opportunities.
“Start with the end in mind. Carefully review job descriptions to see the skills and requirements of the jobs you’re looking to fill,” he explained.
“If there’s a new certification, for example, in a technology that you don’t have but it looks like you need it, and it’s a growing trend, then look into pursuing it.”
2. Time is of the essence
The good news is that technical opportunities still exist in “countless industries,” Salemi said.
According to a Morgan Stanley research note this month, large job cuts in non-tech industries are also unlikely because “ [U.S.] The economy as a whole remains a shortage of personnel.
Chhabria added that there are currently more than 3.5 million open roles in the Asia-Pacific region in sectors not limited to technology such as professional services, retail, healthcare and financial services.
“Understanding what skills you need to find work in these industries is an important first step,” he said.
While there are jobs available, experts told CNBC Make It that time is of the essence.
“When I worked in corporate recruiting, I usually saw a drop in applications in December, even though we were actively recruiting,” Salemi said.
“There will be less competition when you apply, given that most job seekers stop looking by January. Don’t wait.”
LinkedIn’s Chhabria agreed, saying there are “many companies” still hiring and that early adopters will give an added advantage to those who apply.
“LinkedIn [data] “If you apply within the first 10 minutes, you’re four times more likely to be hired for a position, so set up a job alert to notify you as soon as a job matching your criteria is posted, and apply as soon as possible,” he added.
Apart from emphasizing tech skills on your CV, soft skills like time management and customer service are also very important.
“In this uncertain environment, employers are also paying more attention to soft skills such as problem solving, communication and resilience. These are key skills that tech workers also need to demonstrate as we work in a hybrid environment with globally distributed teams.”
Acknowledging that it’s natural to feel anxious and lost after a layoff, Chhabria says that “proactively facing” those feelings is the best way to deal with them.
“It can also be helpful to be part of a community and seek help by talking to others in a similar situation,” she said.
“Start by reaching out to your network… [that] It can be the first step to opening the door to connections and conversations with your current contacts who can make recommendations, support or introductions that can help you get hired.”
For example, LinkedIn has public tables listing the contact information of tech workers who have been laid off and open tech roles in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chhabria stressed that employers should prioritize networking, as professionals are “four times more likely” to be hired through their networks.
“Check in regularly with your professional community for referral opportunities, career advice and potential job opportunities… Be specific about the type of role you want, your experience level and the value you bring. to the team.”