The tech industry has been hit pretty hard by layoffs in recent months. This has left many workers and those who want to enter tech, unsure of where to step next. For example, in 2023 there have been over 100,000 tech layoffs. Companies like Amazon, Google, and Meta announced significant cuts to their staff with multiple departments hit during rounds of layoffs.
So one has to wonder, what is behind these layoffs? And what does it mean for the future of the tech & AI industry? So let’s explore some of the trends that are emerging from the tech layoffs and what they mean. Of course, we’ll also discuss what you can do to protect yourself from being laid off.
Big Businesses Aren’t Invincible
Though often seen as invincible titans, one of the biggest takeaways from the tech layoffs is that even big, successful companies are not immune to economic downturns. Amazon, Google, and Meta are all considered to be some of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. However, due to uncertain and dynamic market conditions causing global havice, these companies have all been forced to lay off employees in recent months.
This shows that even the largest and most successful tech companies are not immune to economic tides. Just like with any company, regardless of size, it’s important to be aware of the possibility of layoffs. Keeping one’s ear up and on the pulse of economic conditions could help in predicting a possible layoff or other issues that might come down the road.
AI Startups Are More Desirable
Believe it or not, another trend that is emerging from the tech layoffs is that AI startups are becoming more desirable. For a long time, startups were seen as risky and often filled with issues of work/life balance. But in 2023, that view is changing. Companies like Databricks, Snowflake, and Palantir have all been hiring aggressively in recent months, filling in where the large companies have let go of labor and are proving to be a place where workers enjoy.
This is because AI is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes. With the explosion of LLMs, thanks to the success of ChatGPT and OpenAI, companies are realizing the value of generative AI for their overall business model. For example, AI can help businesses to improve their efficiency, productivity, and customer service. As a result, AI startups are becoming more desirable to investors and employees alike.
Because of this, the demand from thesis companies has grown and with that growth, opportunities for displaced workers and new tech-focused workers have appeared.
AI Is Now Required, Even in Non-Data Science and Non-AI Jobs
Like with computers decades before, AI was only used by data scientists and other technical professionals. But this has quickly changed. Thanks to no-code and low-code platforms, AI is now becoming increasingly important for non-technical roles as well.
For example, AI is being used to automate customer service tasks, improve marketing campaigns, and even create new products. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important for all employees to have at least some basic understanding of AI.
Investment Is Changing
Any veteran of tech knows the industry has traditionally been very risk-averse. But due to the recent tech layoffs, investors have become more cautious. As a result, investors are now more likely to invest in companies that have a proven track record of success. This doesn’t mean that investments have dried up. Instead, investors are more careful and are looking toward returns that are less risky in their nature. Much of this is due to current economic conditions, interest rates, and the expense of debt which is now more expensive to take on today, compared to years past.
This trend is likely to continue in the future. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important for tech companies to have a strong financial foundation before they start raising money from investors.
Consumer Interest Is Changing
Finally, we get to the part that is often either missed or overlooked, and that’s consumer interest. Like many other fields, the tech industry has also been hit by changing consumer interest. In the past, consumers were willing to pay a premium for new and innovative tech products. However, with the rise of other consumer goods, housing, food, etc, consumers are now becoming more price-sensitive.
Though there is interest in buying the latest products, tighter wallets are proving to hit tech companies pretty hard. This change in spending priority means that tech companies are normally the first to see a reduction in disposable income spending. This is another reason why startups are becoming a popular choice for workers. Many either are better insulated from the change of consumer spending or have venture capital to lean on.
Because of how unpredictable market conditions can be, it’s likely that this trend in spending will continue in the near future.
What Can Be Done?
Although no one wants to worry about their next job or job stability, this is the nature of labor markets. But there are a few things people can do to help themselves shoulder the stress and better position themselves against any negative trend they may encounter. One of the first things workers can do is upskill. The ability to expand your current skillset by improving existing skills or even developing completely new skills is one of the best and most efficient ways workers can put themselves in a position of strength. That’s because as markets change and the need for specialized labor shifts, they are the first to be able to take on those calls.
If one instead opts to learn a completely new skill set, then they can utilize existing knowledge and their new skills to pivot more smoothly into their field (or sub-field) of choice. ODSC has you covered.
At ODSC East this April 23rd to 25th, you’ll be able to train with and engage with the top experts who are shaping the data science field and be able to work with fellow professionals. We also have Ai+ Training, the on-demand learning platform that allows you to pick up new skills or sharpen existing skills so you can stand out.
So take 2024, and make it the year where you develop the data science arsenal that will drive you to your goals with ODSC East and Ai+ Training.