May 26, 2022
Photo: Mars Sector-6 via Unsplash
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. My heart goes out to the families mourning their loss in Uvalde, Texas. My heart also goes out to all of you who are striving to work, commute and take care of yourselves and your families in the middle of what feels like an unrelenting stream of national tragedies. If you’re in a position of leadership, make sure you’re checking in on your employees and urging them to take the time and space they need to take care of themselves as well.
Today: My colleagues Lizzy Lawrence and Amber Burton dive into how Netflix’s layoffs impacted marginalized employees, and how this reveals a larger diversity challenge in tech. Also, Allison Levitsky writes on what the job market would look like in a downturn, and a new survey is out on how stress about global events like mass shootings affect your employees.
— Michelle Ma, reporter (email | twitter)
One common and disheartening consequence of all the tech layoffs we’re seeing in the news lately? They tend to hurt marginalized employees the most.
In the wake of Netflix’s two layoffs, it became clear that many of the affected workers possessed marginalized identities. A number of laid-off social media contractors who ran accounts aimed at Black, LGBTQ+, Latinx and Asian audiences shared that they had been let go on Twitter. Protocol identified at least 40 people from marginalized backgrounds who lost their jobs in the latest round of cuts.
The move made some question Netflix’s commitment to DEI, though Netflix has done a lot of work in the space.
Layoffs frequently disproportionately affect women and people of color because companies often don’t have diversity spread throughout the organizations, according to Star Carter, co-founder and chief operating officer at DEI tech company Kanarys.
Better yet, try not to be in this position at all. Thanh Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of the compensation benchmarking startup OpenComp, said this is a good time to get back to “operating fundamentals.” Meaning: hiring plan reevaluation, burn and runway costing and sticking to your compensation ranges.
Read the full story.
Everything that goes up must come down. And the market is going down, down, down. My colleague Allison Levitsky wrote about what that means for the tech talent market. “It’s a little bit like whiplash,” a compensation consultant told her. TL;DR: There’s still a talent shortage. Sought-after engineers will continue to command large compensation packages, but those packages could start to look a little different. Think smaller benefits packages, cooling merit increases or scaled-back sign-on bonuses and equity.
At the same time that the pandemic demonstrated all that is possible in an interconnected world, we saw in new and increasingly stark ways how certain communities continue to be marginalized and harmed by a persistent digital divide and how effectively that divide exacerbates our society’s other inequities.
After Sunday’s newsletter on tools that use punishment to encourage productivity, a reader wrote in with another example: Write or Die, a website that literally deletes your writing if you pause for a certain amount of time. Can’t say I’ve tried it (it sounds terrifying). But here’s a Guardian article from 2014 describing the experience.
It’s nearly the end of the month, so it feels like the right time to acknowledge that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is just trying to stay afloat? Well, according to a new survey of over 950 working Americans from employee rewards platform Blueboard in conjunction with The Harris Poll, people are stressed.
Snapchat is joining Meta, Nvidia, Salesforce, Coinbase and others in slowing hiring. The company is blaming Apple’s new ad-tracking policies and the war in Ukraine.
Bolt is laying off workers citing “several structural changes.” Will its much-touted four-day workweek survive?
LGBTQ+ employees are happiest at these four tech companies, according to Glassdoor: Google, Microsoft, IBM and Apple.
Call of Duty studio workers have voted “overwhelmingly” to form a union, a historic victory for the video game industry.Microsoft hopes a new cloud service will help developers with one of their biggest challenges: managing developer workstations.
There is so much more we need to do to make sure our future is more equitable and inclusive and maximizes America’s potential. It is not enough just to ensure everyone is connected. We also need to extend the full scope of digital opportunity to the people, the communities, and the institutions.
A roundup of workplace news from the farthest corners of the internet.
Have you stayed at your company throughout the Great Resignation? You may be underpaid as a result.
A TED talk on the case for a four-day work week and why it could benefit workers and company society, as well as be a “gateway for addressing climate change.”
Are bad jobs an inherent part of the workplace, or can automation help create an equitable future of work? The Better Life Lab podcast investigates.
Tech companies could face a recruitment crisis if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
THREAD: Are you a POC and do you feel safe asking these questions in a job interview?
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great day, see you Tuesday. (We’re taking Sunday off for Memorial Day.)