Have Sweeping Layoffs Broken Employee Trust in Big Tech?

Cost-cutting measures across the industry are eroding trust for employees and potential candidates alike.

Tech companies have been laying off employees left and right in 2023, and it could be eroding some of the trust that top talent has in the industry as a whole.

By now, you’ve likely heard the news that the tech industry is in layoff mode. Virtually every big company in Silicon Valley and beyond has let go of a substantial percentage of their workforce due to the economic downturn.

While these sweeping layoffs aren’t uncommon in the business world, they are much more widespread in the tech industry than ever before. And for an industry that relies on top talent, these cost-cutting measures could ruin big tech’s chance at courting the best of the best down the road.

Trust and Tech Layoffs

In the last few months, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Meta, and dozens of others have laid off thousands of employees. In fact, one report found that the tech industry, as a whole, has laid off more than 100,000 workers in 2023 alone.

As an understandable result, tech employees aren’t feeling great about the industry. One survey of laid off employees found that 60% were less likely to trust their next employer, with 44% noting that they would likely care less about performance at their next job.

The sentiment is shared across the industry too. In an interview with Fortune, a recruiter from a large tech company held that this will have a notable impact on workers across the industry.

“I think people should come out of this learning and remembering that we have to trust ourselves before anyone or anything else.”

Clearly, all these tech layoffs are having a negative impact on the tech industry’s ability to keep workers happy, something it used to be the best at. Now, the future of the tech industry could be in for a rude awakening.

The Future of Tech After Layoffs

All these cost cutting measures may be rubbing laid-off employees the wrong way, but what do you expect? It’s not like fired workers are going to sing the praises of an industry that unceremoniously showed them the door during a recession. So why does it matter if trust in the tech industry is eroding? Well, there’s another group of people that don’t feel the tech industry is very trustworthy as of late: students.

Obviously, the tech industry is an attractive option for high-performing graduates, which is why these companies are always at the top of their game. However, a recent survey found that 74% of this year’s graduating senior view job stability is a primary driver in deciding where to work, which the tech industry has now foregone in pursuit of leaner, more efficient teams.

In an interview with Business Insider, one student outlined the new perception of the tech industry for students, which are likely to hesitate when it comes to pushing that “apply” button.

“It looks so nice when everything’s good. You have free food, free everything. A high salary. But with the layoffs, I now know that no matter how hard we work, they can still cut us overnight, you know? That’s something that I’m worried about in tech.”

It’s hard to argue with this sentiment. When the numbers were up between 2019 and 2022, the tech industry went on a hiring frenzy, bumping up workforce numbers like never before with virtually zero foresight at the potential consequences. Simply put, if I was an aspiring engineer or a top-tier marketing professional, I wouldn’t trust these companies either.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.
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