By Ellyn Briggs
February 27, 2023 at 5:00 am ET
More than 100,000. That’s how many tech employees have been laid off since the start of 2023, according to Layoffs.fyi, which tracks job losses in the industry.
Giants like Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Meta Platforms Inc. — historically high-growth companies that hired at even faster-than-usual rates during the pandemic — are leading the charge. Each has eliminated more than 10,000 positions in the last three months, while Meta reported plans to soon further reduce its headcount.
In most every case, leaders at these companies have cited an anticipated recession as the primary reason for reductions. A new Morning Consult survey, however, revealed that young people — many of whom are experiencing widespread layoffs for the first time — are largely rejecting this narrative.
Sixty percent of Gen Z adults said recent mass layoffs were avoidable based on the current economic environment, while more than half (52%) of millennials said the same. Less than a quarter of Gen Zers and a third of millennials agreed with the notion that layoffs could not be avoided.
These mass layoffs could pose a significant risk to brands’ future hiring efforts. A majority of employed U.S. adults (58%) said they would be unlikely to consider a new position at a company that has recently reduced headcount.
While the tech industry’s recent actions may have shaken its long-held association with job security and profuse perks, questions remain about whether or not its attractiveness to job seekers — especially young ones — is permanently blemished.
Many tech giants have paused or rescinded internship and full-time employment offers to college students amid the layoff wave. Counselors at elite universities are beginning to caution against pursuing careers in Silicon Valley as fewer tech companies show up for on-campus hiring fairs. Laid-off tech workers are going viral on TikTok for chronicling the woes of unemployment.
As more Gen Zers age into the workforce, their influence over the social conversations that shape work culture and employer expectations will continue to grow. And widespread layoffs, which are happening at formative ages for many within the cohort, may prove to hamper trust in the impacted industries.
The Feb. 17-19, 2023, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,205 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Ellyn Briggs is a data reporter at Morning Consult covering brands and marketing. @ellynbriggs