The tech world has been rocked by mass layoffs as giants like Meta, Twitter and Elon Musk-owned Amazon bleed jobs amid economic uncertainty.
The number of IT layoffs in 2022 alone accounts for more than half of all layoffs since Covid-19, according to layoffs.fyi, a tracking website.
“Tech companies of all shapes and sizes are reorganizing, carefully assessing expenses and ultimately laying off employees,” said Erin Lau, director of service operations at Insperity, a human resources consultancy.
This creates a tight job market that is “inundated with unemployed professionals and qualified candidates”, she added.
Aside from the intense competition, job seekers also face the challenge of acquiring “adaptive skills” to meet the needs of a rapidly changing tech industry, said LinkedIn career expert Pooja Chhabria.
“Companies are constantly in disruption mode, so today’s requirements for a job could change tomorrow. Employers are therefore keen to recruit nimble tech talent – not only are they meeting a specific need today’ today, but they have enduring skills to meet the needs of the future,” she added.
CNBC Make It spoke to career experts who have advice for laid-off tech workers looking for new jobs in a tough economy.
1. Invest in skills development
Skills are now “the new currency” in the workplace and companies are taking a skills-based approach to hiring, Chhabria said.
“Last year, 40% of recruiters on LinkedIn explicitly used skills data to source talent, which is a 20% year-over-year increase,” she added.
“What’s more telling is that these recruiters are 60% more likely to find a successful hire because of this change in approach.”
To differentiate yourself from the competition, Chhabria suggested paying attention to “growth areas where investments are being made.”
“For example, we’ve seen significant investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so skills such as SQL, Python and AWS are all the most in-demand skills in software and IT with a significant growth since 2015.”
Whether you’re looking to update your skills or possibly make a career shift, don’t overlook your transferable skills, she added.
“Often, to pivot into the job or industry you want, you don’t need to completely overhaul your skills and you may already have the similar skills needed to change careers.”
Setting up job alerts can also help identify learning opportunities, said Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster.com.
“Start with the end in mind. Go through job descriptions to look at the skills and requirements of the jobs you’re pursuing to fill in the gaps,” she explained.
“If there’s a new certification, for example, in technology that you don’t have but looks like you should and it’s a growing trend, then consider pursuing it.”
2. Time is running out
The good news is that there are still tech opportunities in “countless industries,” Salemi said.
According to a Morgan Stanley research note this month, major job cuts in non-tech industries are also unlikely because “the [U.S.] the economy as a whole remains short-staffed.”
Chhabria added that there are currently more than 3.5 million vacancies in Asia-Pacific in sectors not limited to technology, such as professional services, retail, healthcare and financial services.
“Understanding the skills you need to land a job in these industries is an important first step,” she said.
While there are jobs available, experts told CNBC Make It time is running out.
“When I worked in corporate recruiting, I usually saw a decrease in applications in December, even though we were actively hiring,” Salemi said.
“Job seekers will have less competition when they apply since the majority of people are putting their search on hold until January. Don’t wait.”
LinkedIn’s Chhabria agreed, saying there are still “many companies” hiring now and being the first to apply will give applicants an extra edge.
“Linked In [data] shows you’re four times more likely to be hired for a role if you apply within the first 10 minutes, so set up job alerts to let you know when a job posting that matches your criteria is posted, and apply ASAP,” she added.
Besides highlighting hard skills in your resume, soft skills such as time management and customer service are also crucial.
“In this uncertain environment, employers are also placing more emphasis on 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 teams distributed all over the world.”
Acknowledging that it’s natural to feel anxious and lost after being fired, Chhabria said “proactively confronting” those feelings is the best way to deal with them.
“Being part of a community and asking for help by talking to others in a similar situation could also be helpful,” she added.
“Start by reaching out to your network… [that] can be the first step in opening the door to connections and conversations with your current contacts, who might be able to offer advice, support, or make introductions that can help you get hired. »
For example, public spreadsheets are circulating on LinkedIn that compile contact information for laid-off tech workers and tech vacancies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chhabria stressed that workers should prioritize networking, as professionals are “four times more likely” to be hired through their network.
“Be sure to engage and check in with your professional community regularly to pave the way for mentorship opportunities, career advice and potential employment opportunities…Be specific about the type of role you want, your level of experience and the value you bring to a team.”
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