The great tech hiring slowdown
Good morning! The plummeting stock market has everyone in the financial world foretelling doom and gloom, and the tech industry isn’t immune. But the stock market isn’t the only indicator to consider when assessing the state of tech — especially where hiring trends are concerned. I’m Anna Kramer, and I’m learning to use an old Canon AE-1. It’s much harder than I expected.
It’s not time to panic — yet
I started yesterday morning certain that the news of hiring freezes and layoffs at places like Meta, Netflix, Robinhood and Uber meant that we were finally about to see some cooling off in the raging hot tech job market we’ve been covering over on the Protocol Workplace team for the last two years. But that’s not exactly what’s happening.
Things aren’t as bad as they seem. After talking with recruiters at big and small tech companies, as well as experts from recruiting firms like Robert Half, it seems more likely that all the course correction in the markets, the bad earnings reports from big tech companies and the layoffs at startups like Mural and Cameo are actually masking what remains an extremely powerful demand for tech workers.
- Individual companies might be overvalued or have accidentally overhired amid the obscene glut of tech wealth that’s been floating around for the last year.
- But all of the main indicators for a robust tech job market remain strong despite those course corrections.
Here are some key takeaways from my conversations with recruiters this week:
- The overall unemployment landscape in the United States still heavily favors workers — according to Department of Labor stats, the number of available jobs hit the country’s all-time record (11.5 million) in March.
- Those numbers are even more favorable for software engineers and cybersecurity professionals, whose unemployment rates sit somewhere between 0.1% and 0.6%, according to Ryan Sutton, a district president for Robert Half. Sutton considers any unemployment rate between 2% and 4% as exceptionally favorable for workers, meaning that numbers even lower indicate persistent demand.
- “The traditional trends that tell us the talent demand indicators — average number of offers per candidate, how long it takes us to get a candidate placed, percentage of counter-offers a candidate is facing on a regular basis — those three buckets, we’re still seeing it,” Sutton told me.
Hiring freezes and layoffs are specific to individual tech companies. They may indicate problems with those companies and their specific business models, but likely won’t affect the actual market for tech jobs all that much.
- Recruiters expect there to be a small decline in the number of counter-offers a person will receive, or perhaps the amount of salary they could negotiate, but pay and job offers aren’t going to substantively decline.
- One former Facebook recruiter summed up the general feeling shared by everyone: “If I'm gauging on a scale of one to 10 in terms of how concerned I am, I’m probably at a four right now, and it was at two yesterday. There is some concern, but I think for the most part I don't see any dread. Ask me again next week; I might have a different answer for you. I want to keep my finger on the pulse here, but I’m not in a panic.”
The insight view: The CPG CIO
Join Protocol enterprise editor Tom Krazit for a series of high-level executive interviews – filmed at SAP Sapphire 2022. Hear from CIOs from leading consumer packaged goods companies on the role of enterprise tech in transforming their business models and navigating a new era of digital transformation. RSVP here.
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The emergence of DeFi is shaking up the way consumers think about how they store value. For reference, Visa saw $2.5 billion of crypto-backed transactions in the first quarter of 2022. We’re seeing consumers really starting to use this in a way that even a year ago was kind of hypothetical.
People are talking
Turning Peloton around is hard work, Barry McCarthy said:
- "It’s intellectually challenging, emotionally draining, physically exhausting and all consuming. It’s a full-contact sport."
Elon Musk said he’d undo Twitter’s ban on Donald Trump:
- “I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump.”
Pat Gelsinger said Intel is going to make more SaaS acquisitions:
- "My simple formula is silicon plus software equals solutions."
The ACLU and other digital rights groups are asking Zoom not to implement any emotion AI features:
- "This software is discriminatory, manipulative, potentially dangerous and based on assumptions that all people use the same facial expressions, voice patterns and body language."
Janet Yellen said the stablecoin UST has “experienced a run”:
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Adriel Frederick is now VP of Product at Reddit X, Reddit's new "bold bets and new features" division. Frederick last worked at Lyft as its head of Product Management for Marketplace.
Michael Krantz joined Notion as a writer. Krantz was Google's first consumer marketing writer and the brain behind some of its most memorable April Fool's jokes.
Terry Angelos left Visa for DriveWealth, where he’ll serve as CEO. Angelos was Visa’s global head of Crypto and Fintech.
Tom Webster is joining Sounds Profitable as a partner. Webster has worked at Edison Research since 2004.
Ryan Logue is LTSE’s new head of Private Markets. Logue last worked at Morgan Stanley as head of Liquidity and Secondary Transactions for its Private Markets group.
Zoox is getting a new office in San Diego this summer. It’ll house several of the company’s software teams, and Zoox plans to bring more than 100 new jobs to the area.
In other news
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Tech companies would need to scan for and report CSAM to the EU under newly introduced rules. The EU will create a new agency for companies to report their findings.
Bolt is falling from grace. The startup got big quickly, but dozens of people tied to Bolt said its (now former) CEO stretched the truth to get there, The New York Times reported.
An ad-supported tier is coming to Netflix sooner than later, according to a note sent to employees. The company plans to launch one by the end of the year.
Is Twitter a website? A Texas judge didn’t think so, and now it’s complicating the decision to crack down on social media platforms for alleged anti-conservative bias.
Google will pay over 300 European publishers for their news after the EU adopted rules a few years ago requiring platforms to pay musicians, authors and others for their work.
Microsoft is covering abortion-related travel costs, joining companies including Amazon, Tesla and others.
Electronic Arts and FIFA are breaking up. EA’s soccer games will now be branded under EA Sports FC.
An ode to the iPod
The iPod was a cultural touchstone that changed the world. For some, it was their first gadget. Our colleague Nat Rubio-Licht took their first selfie on it. And now the iPod is no more. Apple discontinued the last generation of its portable music player yesterday, and the internet collectively eulogized a beloved device. Here’s how people are remembering the iPod Touch:
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Businesses — whether Web2 or Web3-oriented businesses that don’t want to hold crypto but do want to be able to interact with crypto holders — want to be able to offer that as a payment mechanism to their communities. The other is hands-on, where merchants are comfortable accepting crypto.
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