Kat & Alex

How some employers are capitalizing on layoffs to snag top talent.

Meta. Amazon. Dell. Microsoft. Google. Salesforce. Zoom.

A year or so ago, that would’ve been nothing more than a list of the major players in the tech industry. But today? It’s a list of companies that have announced mass layoffs in recent months. 

Estimates state that more than 77,000 workers from U.S. tech companies have been laid off so far this year. And we’re likely to see that continue in the tech. sector. It’s enough to make anyone—workers, employers, and people watching the headlines—feel anxious and unsteady.  

However, there are signs of confidence in this market, executives are balancing cautionary moves with smart investments to drive targeted growth. One survey from PwC found that almost half of Chief Human Resource Officers (47%) say they’re making changes to strategic planning based on current business conditions — more than any other activity. This balancing act also applies to talent. Forty-four percent are hiring in specific areas to drive growth, 42% are planning cost cutting not including headcount reductions and 26% are planning to reduce the number of full-time employees.

For some companies, the relentless layoff news might not be cause for concern and chewed nails. In fact, it could be something positive: a chance to snag in-demand talent. 


Some industries are scooping up top talent amidst layoffs

“Many employers outside tech, some of which had trouble attracting tech talent during Silicon Valley’s decade-long boom because of their stodgy reputations and lower pay, are scooping up unemployed software engineers and web designers now that the tech industry is in retreat,” writes Michal Lev-Ram in an article for Fortune.

Industries like finance, healthcare, and even the federal government are seizing the opportunity. Pharmaceutical companies are actively hiring data science and AI employees while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has set its sights on designers, engineers, and other tech talent, as just two examples.

Even some other tech companies—those that have managed to evade staff reductions so far, at least—are capitalizing on the moment too. 

“There’s a lot of incredible people in the market who may only come on the market once a decade and we have an opportunity to pick those staff up now,” said Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of software giant, Atlassian, during the company’s Q1 2023 earnings call as reported by The Register.

Highly-qualified talent could keep hitting the market

Despite the alarming layoff numbers, some employers (like accounting firm, EY, for one) say they haven’t seen a huge influx of talent in the way you’d expect. 

However, it could take some time to see any sort of surge of highly-qualified talent. Many workers received decent severance—for example, Salesforce employees received five months of pay. That cushion gives those workers some time to process their emotions, figure out their options, and let the dust settle before diving headfirst into the job market. 

As well, many top talent in 2023 are eschewing job boards and online applications for more meaningful networking with long-standing recruiters they trust, industry peers employed at companies on their short list, and potential hiring managers. And many are taking advantage of severance sabbaticals to recharge and consider their long term career objectives. 

Ultimately, when best-in-class candidates commit to their job search, and update their resumes and start searching? Companies that are smart about their recruitment strategies and candidate experiences could stand to benefit in a big way. 

“This is an opportunity for those industries that have traditionally lagged behind in digital transformation and cybersecurity to hire talent at a level they may not have been able to before when the tech industry was gobbling them up,” said Simone Petrella, CEO of cybersecurity company, CyberVista, in an article for CNBC

In short, when it comes to layoffs, a variation of the old adage could hold true: One company’s loss is another company’s gain.