Career coach: Laid-off IT workers should land on their feet

In the past three months, 57% of companies have announced layoffs — and 56% say they plan to do so in the next six months — according to a recent ResumeBuilder survey.

Many of those layoffs have been in Big Tech. Last week, Google announced 12,000 layoffs, and Microsoft announced it was cutting 10,000 jobs, or 5% of its workforce.

Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and other big tech names have now announced more than 200,000 combined layoffs, after a pandemic-era hiring spree left them over-employed.

Many IT professionals finding themselves out of work may likely land quickly on their feet, experts say, because there are still many unfilled IT jobs — and not just at IT companies.

“Every company in the country has an IT department,” said Stacie Haller, a career strategist and job search coach. “So IT workers could work within their own tech industry, and within any other industry as well, because all have growing tech departments to run their business.”

Those recently laid-off IT professionals join others who are looking for work, including some long-term unemployed IT professionals who have not succeeded in landing another job.

Haller said, for some, it may be ageism. For others, it may be outdated skills.

“Unfortunately, many of those folks can get help and assistance to uncover what is not working for them with a professional career counselor, but do not seek the advice or information they need,” Haller said.

Those Big Tech companies pivoting so sharply to large-scale layoffs may also find it coming back to haunt them.

“People are going to remember those massive layoffs and think twice about it. I think companies are trying to navigate their way through, because they know sometime in the future we will be in a different situation and they will need to hire,” Haller said.

Despite near-record job openings overall, it has not just been technology companies that have been trimming their workforces.

According to Resume Builder’s survey of 1,000 business leaders across all industries, 37% of companies with recent layoffs are hiring contractors to replace laid-off workers, and 62% have asked employees to take on new roles. About 10% say employees weren’t given additional training despite giving them additional tasks.

“A lot of the employers asking employees to do that extra work are compensating for it, but for you, if it is more work and not much money, then it is time for you to assess your situation and look for new employment,” Haller said.

Beyond resorting to layoffs and assigning extra workloads to existing employees, in the past three months, 34% of business leaders surveyed say their company has cut salaries. Nearly one in 10 who have cut salaries said they cut pay for all employees, according to the survey.

About 37% of companies with recent layoffs are hiring contractors to replace them, which is sometimes called “quiet hiring.”

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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