Past few months have been particularly tumultuous for people working in tech. Since November last year, around 200,000 tech employees have lost their jobs. This includes a record number of people fired by big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
Riding the unprecedented growth wave during the pandemic, many of these tech companies over-hired, only to be given a rude reality check by the looming recession. Layoffs are never easy for anyone, be it employers or employees; however, the impact is much severe for employees.
Recently, Microsoft announced that it is letting go of 10,000 employees. Among them was Prashant Kamani, an employee at Microsoft for over 21 years. In a LinkedIn post that went viral, Kamani pointed out that he has undertaken multiple roles in his two-decade long career at Microsoft.
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In fact, not just Kamani, there have been many others with substantial experience who have faced the axe at the hands of these tech giants. So, what’s next for them? Big tech often pays their employees handsomely and with so many years of experience behind them, how difficult/easy will it be for these professionals to find another job?
Can higher wage become an issue?
Being let go can be painful. Besides causing emotional and psychological stress, such as feelings of rejection and uncertainty about the future, it could have many significant consequences. “Large tech company layoffs can make it difficult for former employees to find new jobs, especially if they were well-paid, are older or in a specialised field,” Sarbojit Mallick, co-founder and CBO of Instahyre, told AIM.
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The companies that can afford them are the tech firms, but they are either laying off or have announced hiring freeze. Secondly, they can look for a job at a startup; however, according to Mallick, “Startups might not have the financial means to pay them the same wages and perks they enjoyed at the major tech firms.”
“Nevertheless, some startups could be ready to shell out more for experienced employees, particularly if they have specialised talents or a proven track record of success,” Mallick added. However, with the recession looming, and profitability of most companies taking a hit, especially in the tech ecosystem, not all startups would be welcoming of these well-paid techies.
Transitioning to a startup
Even if a techie manages to get hired again at a startup, the transition is not going to be easy. It’s important to keep in mind that startups often have a different work culture and environment, so laid-off employees should be prepared to adjust to new expectations and responsibilities. The culture could vary in terms of risk tolerance, agility as well as hierarchy. An employee who has spent 15-20 years working for a tech giant, could find the transition difficult.
“Further, the pay and benefits might not be as appealing as what they received from the major software companies. It’s also likely that some of the laid-off employees would initially have to accept a position with less seniority or compensation.” However, there are other options which these laid-off workers can explore. “They can start their own company, or work as a consultant,” Mallick said.
Is Silicon Valley a risky proposition?
A job in the US in a big term firm is a dream for many young Indians. The big tech firms, too, catch them young from top Indian colleges and universities with lucrative salaries. However, with nearly 200,000 tech staff laid off in the past few months, around 50,000 of them could be Indians, according to multiple media reports.
Those on H-1B visas have 60 days to secure employment or face the possibility of being deported. Given the grim condition of Indian techies in the US, does it make Silicon Valley a risky proposition for Indian job seekers? While there is no concrete answer to this, the demand for technology professionals is considerable and is influenced by variables, such as shifting immigration laws, economic situations, and the unique requirements of various companies. “It’s critical for employees to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any job offer, particularly if it’s for a position abroad.”
“Overall, it’s a good idea to investigate the business and the sector before accepting a position and to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the position. It’s also crucial to have a plan in place in case of job disruption, whether it’s caused by immigration or unemployment-related issues,” Mallick concluded.