If you’re in the market for a new job, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Companies that were hiring aggressively a month ago have frozen their interviewing and onboarding processes; other firms are actively laying off workers. In this new environment, things seem to change by the day, and it’s very confusing.
Over at Candor.co, there’s a crowdsourced (and rapidly growing) sheet of companies that are hiring, firing, and freezing new hires in response to COVID-19. A breakdown of the list (which features 3,489 companies across all industries, as of this writing) shows 48 percent of consumer tech companies have instituted some kind of hiring freeze or layoff program. Among business-software firms, it’s 45 percent; and within IT, it’s 44 percent.
Productivity-software firms have been doing comparatively well, with the crowd reporting 38 percent of firms either freezing hires or laying off employees. In education software, things are slightly better—37 percent freezes or layoffs. Across all software and tech categories, it seems that hiring freezes generally outpace firings.
Over at HackerNews, there's also an extensive layoff thread that's well worth reading through, although many of the contributing technologists aren't calling out their companies by name. Nonetheless, it's worth your click for the street-level view of how many technologists are handling this crisis.
Of course, technologists are employed across all industries, and some have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis harder than others—retail and entertainment, for example, are rolling through some dark days. Disney just announced, for instance, that it would furlough employees across all U.S. divisions starting April 19; in theory, that might include some of the software engineers who keep the company’s apps and services running.
The Candor.co list also features some contradictory data; for example, it lists Google as both hiring and undergoing a freeze. Presumably, different employees from different positions are reporting different things.
Indeed, as COVID-19 forces changes throughout the world economy, some technologists are finding they’re in just as much demand as before the crisis began. Sysadmins and others who manage companies’ technology stacks must ensure that newly dispersed networks of employees continue to work smoothly; developers who handle e-commerce portals have to keep things running despite a surge of new delivery orders. Some top positions include application developers, systems engineers, and systems analysts.
Recent survey data from Blind suggested that 57.1 percent of surveyed technologists feared layoffs due to COVID-19. A few weeks into this crisis, 24.9 percent of surveyed technologists are looking for new ways to supplement their income, and 40.2 percent believe it could take anywhere from six to 12 months for life to return to “normal.” For many technologists, though, their skills are more necessary than ever in this moment.
For more COVID-19 content, check out the COVID-19 Jobs Resource Center.