As we head into the end of 2020 (finally!), a significant percentage of technologists are concerned about layoffs, particularly at big tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and PayPal. Does this reflect generalized anxiety about the economy, or something more?

Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists about a range of issues, recently asked its audience whether they were concerned about layoffs in their future. At some companies, a full half of employees said they were worried. Check out the chart:

If the percentage at Cisco seems high, it’s potentially with good reason: The company recently announced that it’d let 3,500 employees go since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and rumors suggest that further cuts could be in the pipeline. Other companies have also engaged in restructuring, with varying amounts of layoffs, which no doubt is making technologists nervous about their prospects going forward.

However, even in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been promising signs.  For example, layoffs at startups seem to have leveled off after spiking earlier this year, and small firms specializing in everything from cloud services to robotics have been on the hunt for skilled technologists. 

The Q3 Dice Tech Job Report, meanwhile, also suggested job stabilization in the third quarter. Hiring trends continue to shift in favor of remote jobs, as well as a rise in postings for occupations related to  cybersecurity, systems and architecture. The tech industry’s unemployment rate remains 3.5 percent, far below the national unemployment rate, and the trends suggest that many businesses are figuring out how to negotiate the changed economic landscape.   

While major tech hubs such as New York and San Francisco are driving hiring, there’s also been a substantial amount of job postings in up-and-coming cities such as Raleigh and Charlotte. While it might seem like a dark winter before us, there’s cause for substantial optimism out there.