The global economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and other geopolitical and environmental crises. Many sectors of the labor market have faced unprecedented challenges and uncertainties, leading to massive layoffs and hiring freezes by some of the top companies in the world.
According to Intellizence², a website that tracks job cuts across industries, since January 1st, 2023, more than 899 companies have announced layoffs. In 2022, more than 3150 companies announced layoffs. The technology industry has been especially hard-hit, with some 161,411 jobs cut by tech firms in 2022 and an additional 128,202 employees laid off by tech firms so far in 2023¹.
Some of the reasons behind these layoffs include:
- Overhiring: Many tech companies went on a hiring spree in 2020 and 2021, fueled by low interest rates and demand for tech products while people were staying at home during the pandemic. However, as the economic situation changed and demand fell, these companies had to reduce their workforce to optimize their operations and cut costs¹.
- Restructuring: Some companies have announced layoffs as part of their corporate restructuring plans to save money, streamline processes, focus on core businesses, or adapt to changing customer needs. For example, Disney announced 7,000 job cuts on Feb. 9 as part of its plan to save $5.5 billion in costs¹. Johnson & Johnson announced another round of restructuring and employee layoffs that could eliminate at least 1000 jobs².
- Regulatory uncertainty: Some companies have faced regulatory hurdles or challenges that have affected their business models or growth prospects. For example, crypto platform Anchorage Digital is laying off roughly 20% of its staff owing to the ongoing downturn in digital assets and regulatory uncertainty in the U.S.².
- Competition: Some companies have faced increased competition from rivals or new entrants that have disrupted their markets or taken away their market share. For example, FedEx Corp. is laying off more than 10% of its global officer and director jobs as it faces economic concerns and competition from Amazon².
While these layoffs may seem daunting for employees who are affected or at risk of losing their jobs, there are some steps they can take to help them keep their jobs or find new opportunities:
- Update your skills: One of the best ways to stay relevant and competitive in a changing labor market is to update your skills or learn new ones that are in demand. You can take online courses, attend workshops or webinars,
or seek mentorship from experts in your field.
- Network: Another way to increase your chances of finding new opportunities is to network with people who can help you with referrals, recommendations, or advice. You can use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to connect with former colleagues, friends, or industry leaders. You can also join professional associations, communities, or groups that are related to your field or interests.
- Showcase your value: If you want to keep your current job, you need to show your employer how valuable you are and how you contribute to the company’s goals and vision. You can do this by taking initiative, delivering quality work, solving problems, or suggesting improvements. You can also communicate effectively with your manager and team members and provide feedback or support when needed.
- Be flexible: In times of uncertainty and change, you need to be flexible and adaptable to different situations and expectations. You may need to take on new responsibilities, learn new tools, work remotely, or switch roles depending on what your employer needs. You should also be open-minded and willing to explore new opportunities or industries that may suit your skills and interests.
Layoffs are never easy for anyone involved but they are not necessarily a dead end for employees who lose their jobs or fear losing them. By taking proactive steps such as updating skills networking showcasing value ,and being flexible employees can increase their chances of keeping their jobs or finding new ones.
(1) Companies that announced Major Layoffs and Hiring Freezes. https://intellizence.com/insights/layoff-downsizing/major-companies-that-announced-mass-layoffs/ Accessed 3/24/2023.
(2) These Companies Have Announced the Biggest Layoffs in 2023. https://time.com/6248866/google-alphabet-biggest-layoffs-2023/ Accessed 3/24/2023.
(3) Largest Layoffs of 2023. https://www.investopedia.com/biggest-layoffs-2023-7096389 Accessed 3/24/2023.