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Career Advice for Job Seekers

How to find a tech job when companies are firing, not hiring

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
July 12, 2023


Tech startup layoffs have reached alarming levels, echoing the impact of the pandemic and affecting thousands of workers in the U.S. Unfortunately, layoffs affect new employee hiring as much as job security. A recent study by B2B Reviews looked at the fallout from tech layoffs, including tips for finding new tech jobs in the current market. This article will review that study and offer valuable insights and strategies to help incoming tech professionals navigate the job market.

Unveiling the layoff landscape

According to the survey, 177 tech companies downsized in January 2023, nearing levels not seen since April 2020. Overall, tech companies that laid off employees fired an average of 22% of their workforce since 2022. The travel industry saw the most tech layoffs, with 31% of tech employees fired. The food, health care, education, and real estate industries laid off 29% of tech workers. Then there were the massive layoffs at Twitter (3,700 employees) and Better.com (3,000 employees).

The impact of layoffs on tech hiring

The repercussions of tech layoffs extend beyond affected individuals. Over 58% of tech hiring managers conducted layoffs in the past year, and 18% said they anticipate another round of layoffs within the next six months. With so many employees being laid off, the rate of hiring and onboarding often slows, making the job market more competitive.

Hard skills managers want you to have

To help applicants navigate the job market, B2B Reviews asked hiring managers what they look for in prospective employees, beginning with hard skills. Data analysis was the most sought-after hard skill, with 37% of hiring managers saying it was the most valuable skill for tech employees. Following data analysis, 35% of hiring managers said cloud computing was the most valuable, 31% said software development, and 29% said Python. Hiring managers also valued C++ (21%), Java (20%), JavaScript (18%), and SQL (17%).

Most valuable employee qualities

In addition to solid hard skills in tech, hiring managers also looked for certain qualities in prospective tech employees. The most valuable of these qualities was a continual desire for learning; 53% of hiring managers named it the most-desired employee quality. Hiring managers also looked for team players (46%) and motivated workers (40%).

Other valuable employee qualities were flexibility (39%), integrity (39%), people skills (30%), and passion for the role (29%). Surprisingly, only 34% of managers valued experience, which is good news for upcoming graduates and others hoping to enter the industry for the first time.

Where hiring managers are looking for employees

Hiring managers use various avenues to find new employees, but the most common was LinkedIn, with 34% of managers saying it was their top source for recruitment. Another 29% looked for prospective employees on online job boards such as College Recruiter, and 16% relied on the company website.

Another 17% of hiring managers said referrals were the top source for finding new employees, proving the continued importance of online and in-person networking. As job seekers connect with industry professionals, attend professional events, and engage in relevant communities, they can uncover hidden job opportunities and get their foot in the door before anyone else.

Becoming an indispensable employee

As the tech industry job market slows down, it may take job seekers more time to secure a position. However, you can use the search time wisely to enhance your marketability. Upskilling, acquiring new certifications, demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning, and staying up-to-date with industry trends can set you apart from other candidates during the job search. Once you get a job, continuing these efforts can also increase your relevance and value to your employer, so the next time layoffs come around, you’ll be too vital of an employee to let go.

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