What the Future Looks Like for Fresh Graduates in the Tech Industry
The dreams of fresh graduates hoping to work with tech giants like Amazon, Google, Hp, Microsoft and others may now seem over-ambitious.
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After the remarkable growth in the entire tech industry in 2020, tech companies are now axing down their workforce and going as far as halving their staff. According to Fortune, more than 120,000 tech employees lost their jobs in 2022 to mass job cuts. Tech companies are lamenting the macroeconomic downturn, and back-pedal in the tech industry pushes them to the wall to make these harsh decisions.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, all businesses had to move online since the internet was the only space that still permitted the free flow of traffic. As a result, the tech industry, serving as the new landlord, experienced tremendous growth in revenue and operation, with revenue going as far as a 90% increase in worth and stock.
While the tech industry was enjoying unprecedented success, other enterprises were faced with terrible downturns or total collapse, as it was with the hospitality industry. These struggling companies were forced to align and work with the tech industry. This led to an unpredicted tremendous boom in the tech industry, and companies started increasing their workforce to keep up with the demand.
Unfortunately, the drawback is drowning tech companies in a pool of loss in revenue. As a New York Times story headline goes, "When Your Boss Is Crying, but You're the One Being Laid Off," employers are finding it difficult to control the situation and have to resort to cutting down their expenses, including letting go of their talents.
The difficult situation for fresh graduates
While the world is concerned about former employees who are now between jobs until God knows, I am more concerned about the fate of fresh college graduates — those who will now have to compete in the marketplace with ex-Meta engineers and former Amazon product leads in the aftermath. Generally, the job market has never been very friendly to new college graduates. Hiring managers have "vowed" to prioritize candidates with more practical experience over neophytes.
The United States used to pride itself on having more jobs than the available human resources and even opening doors for foreign talents. This uprise in demand for tech talents made it easy for fresh graduates to step their legs into the tech industries. However, the constant layoffs now suggest we have more tech talent than the available jobs. I can't help but imagine the fate of new tech talent joining the industry. New graduates will have to deal with greater competition than ever, contention with remote talents from different parts of the world and a hiring freeze from their dream companies. 2023 may be a challenging year for straight out of college, graduating and hopping through a hoop in the tech industry.
The odds of fresh talents securing good roles in the tech industry are a lot to beat. Hence, this article reviews what 2023 might look like for college graduates looking to enter the tech industry. Here are some of the main challenges the tech industry is currently facing and how they affect fresh graduates:
There has been a record number of layoffs in the tech industry this year. For example, Meta laid off about 13% of its entire workforce, which amounted to approximately 11,000 of its workforce. Twitter, one of the biggest tech companies, laid off half of its staff — about 3,700 employees. While these are the headliners in the layoff market trend, Amazon is en route to also axe 10,000 employees, and Best Buy, Ford Motors, HBO Max, Peloton, Shopify, Re/Max, Walmart, and Wayfair are all on the trail as well.
In addition, experts predict this is not the end of layoffs for tech companies. Estimates show that by the first quarter of 2023, we may record 30,000 to 40,000 additional layoffs. Therefore, about 40,000 experienced workers will be storming the swelled industry, competing with these greenhorns, making it even more complex for them to stand a chance in a closed hiring industry.
Since the pandemic, remote work is quickly becoming a culture in different organizations, and the percentage of companies adopting remote work policies is growing exponentially yearly. One of the beauties of remote work is allowing people to work from different parts of the world. This means that onsite work that would normally be limited to people residing in the United States will now be opened to the global community.
With this, the job availability in the United States does not automatically mean the job is limited to U.S. domicile, increasing the volume of people fresh graduates will be contending in a tight labor market. In other words, the fresh graduates will not just be competing against ex-Twitter employees; they will be contending against equally bright fresh graduates who are not as skilled but also cheaper to employ.
Hiring freezes and job scarcity
Mark Zuckerberg's message to Meta employees mentioned that Meta would have a hiring freeze until December. Twitter, Google, Amazon and others did the same. Hence, dreams of fresh graduates hoping to work with these tech giants now seem over-ambitious.
While many predict an increase in startups, it will require 100 startups to recruit the tons of workers Meta laid off if we place production of each startup hiring to about 110 people, which is honestly a generous number. How much more if we add the population of those from Amazon, Twitter and other giant tech companies, alongside the qualified unemployed people? It is alarming that the unemployment rate was at 3.7% as of November 2022, and fresh graduates still need to thrive in this loop.
The global economy hasn't been performing at its best since the commencement of the Russia-Ukraine war. Many American-allied countries ceased operations in Russia and their allies to show their support for Ukraine, costing them tons of money. Since Russia's attacks on Ukraine started, the economist intelligence unit forecast shows a significant drop of 0.4% in the predicted GDP growth for the year. And this is not to talk of the big change in the inflow of cash in the tech sector last year and in comparison to now. While fresh graduates may not have any businesses in the United States economy, there is no perfect prediction of the change of these giant tech companies, and startups may not be able to strive as much as they should in a booming economy.
The business industry isn't as friendly as it used to be. Startups must prove themselves more serious than their senior counterparts to make a wave. Fresh graduates hoping to build startups will need to do even more work to beat the flow of competition. We will be entertained by a "survival mode" show before these startups can even draw their first breath in a company's growth cycle. A show where inexperienced entrepreneurs must be highly diligent and zealous in securing momentum to attract the attention of top investors, early clients and more qualified employees — and subsequently compete at a high level.
Possible opportunities to explore
While the odds against fresh tech graduates may be high, it does not precisely mean all doors are shut. Below are some pieces of advice worth considering:
Leverage remote work to explore job opportunities outside the United States: Europe, Asia and other continents are now investing heavily in tech.
Be in the loop: Some big tech companies are still low-key recruiting engineers for their projects. Rumor has it that Apple is hiring a mixed-reality engineer for its Metaverse project. TikTok is also planning to add another 1,000 workers to its team.
Hone your skills, and stand out: History proves that companies still hire unique talents even during a hiring freeze. They only lock the portal for mass employment. Your Meta dream is still possible — however, it's pretty slim at the moment.
Consider an internship: Internships are the easiest route to step your leg into top tech companies, even during a hiring freeze.
Keep tabs on startups: Startups are still raising funds from venture capitalists and building different software. You can potentially get jobs with startups by joining the jobs community, following the right people on Twitter, engaging on LinkedIn, etc.