Business

Tech layoffs shock young workers. The adults? Not so much.


“It’s a gift,” Mr. Pulliam said. “I don’t think that story has been told. It is always doom and gloom.”

But for tech workers experiencing their first economic downturn, the layoffs have been an eye-opener. Ms. Chang had studied product design in college with an eye toward joining a technology industry that seemed recession-proof. Lyft’s firing shook that belief.

Erin Sumner, a recruiter at Facebook’s parent company Meta, bragged to potential employees that the company was the fastest ever to be valued at $1 trillion. She said she would promote the company’s strengths, even last year when its share price collapsed and its core business, digital advertising, struggled.

When rumors of layoffs began to circulate last year, she assured her colleagues that their jobs were safe, pointing to the more than $40 billion in cash the company had in the bank. But in November, she was among 11,000 workers laid off.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Ms Sumner, 32, said. She managed to land a new job as chief recruiter for a startup called DeleteMe, which aims to remove customer information from search results. But she said she cringes every time she reads about new layoffs in the tech sector.

“I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Ms Sumner said. “There is no guarantee. I was laid off from the most secure company in the world.

A similar reversal of fortune has caused businesses selling software services. Shares of industry leader Salesforce fell nearly 50 percent last year as sales growth slowed. The company spent $28 billion during the pandemic to buy Slack Technologies. It swelled to 80,000 employees from 49,000 in two years.

During a general meeting last week to discuss the company’s decision to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, Marc Benioff, the company’s chief executive, tried to empathize with his disgruntled staff by putting the layoffs in context.


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