Tag: Layoffs

Positive Outlook for IT Salaries

According to the latest report titled “InformationWeek 2023 US IT Salary Report: Rising Salaries and Closing the Gender Pay Gap,” the salary prospects for IT professionals remain positive despite increasing labor costs and economic inflation, as companies strive to cut back. The report highlights several key findings that shed light on the current state of the IT job market.

In 2022, a significant 77% of IT professionals experienced a boost in their base salary. The median salary witnessed a 12% rise, climbing from $125,000 in 2021 to $140,000.

The survey also revealed that 61% of IT professionals expressed satisfaction with their overall compensation, while 62% reported being content with their jobs in general.

While the gender pay gap persists, both men and women witnessed salary increases. Women experienced a substantial 28% rise in their annual salaries, reaching a median of $135,000 in 2022. On the other hand, men’s pay increased by 9% to $140,000.

The report further disclosed that the majority of IT professionals, 58%, had no plans to seek employment at another organization in the following year. However, for those considering a job change in 2023, higher pay emerged as the primary motivating factor for 70% of respondents.

Sara Peters, the editor-in-chief of InformationWeek, commented on the findings, noting that despite uncertainties in the market, the IT pay outlook remains optimistic. Companies are adjusting salaries to account for the rising cost of living and are committed to addressing pay parity and diversity in their hiring practices.

Peters acknowledged the recent layoffs in the tech industry but emphasized that a significant majority of IT professionals still report positive job satisfaction. Additionally, almost nine out of ten respondents expressed confidence in their job security.

Looking ahead, Peters acknowledged the potential impact of generative AI and other automation technologies on IT salaries and hiring trends, stating that next year’s survey results will provide more insights.

The survey encompassed responses from 456 full-time IT professionals across various industries, including healthcare, financial services, banking, consulting, IT services, manufacturing, education, and government.

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Employee compensation impacted by economic conditions

Microsoft’s full-time employees will not be receiving salary increases this year, as the company prepares for the impact of current economic conditions, according to reports. The decision was communicated to the staff through an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, as confirmed by BQ Prime, who obtained a copy of the email.

Nadella acknowledged that the choice not to increase salaries for full-time employees was not made lightly by the senior leadership team. However, he emphasized its necessity in ensuring the long-term success of the company. Certain hourly or equivalent roles will still receive salary increases, as stated by Nadella.

While the freeze on salary increases is in effect, Microsoft will maintain its budget for bonuses and stock awards this year. In 2022, the company significantly raised its global merit budget and annual stock ranges by at least 25% for employees at level 67 and below, as previously reported by CNBC. This year, Nadella mentioned that the bonus and stock award budget will be maintained, but not overfunded as it was in the previous year, aligning it more closely with historical averages.

Nadella made it clear that outstanding performance will still be recognized with generous rewards, but managers will need to carefully allocate their budgets to differentiate pay based on performance. This approach applies not only to the senior leadership team but also to Nadella himself. Consequently, salary increases will be absent, and annual performance-based bonuses for the senior leadership team will be considerably lower compared to the previous year.

Microsoft’s decision to freeze salary increases coincides with its increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) as a major investor in OpenAI, as well as the global economic uncertainty. Earlier this year, the tech giant announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees as part of its strategy to align its cost structure with revenue and customer demand. LinkedIn, one of Microsoft’s subsidiaries, also recently disclosed its intention to reduce its workforce by over 700 positions.

These measures align with the actions taken by numerous employers worldwide, who are implementing layoffs in anticipation of economic turbulence.

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Magnit’s spring Labor Market Report summary

According to the recently released “Spring 2023 US Labor Market Report” by Magnit, a provider of VMS and MSP, there has been a rise in the layoff rates for contingent workers from 6.9% to 8.3% over the past six months. However, this rate appears to be trending downward after reaching a four-year high in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, the voluntary termination rate has decreased to an all-time low of just 12.6% in the first quarter, which is less than half of what it was during the Great Resignation (29.1%). The report also examines tech hiring, wage growth, and other relevant issues.

The report cites several key takeaways from Magnit, including the fact that despite recent tech-sector layoffs, there is an increasing demand for tech roles across various industries, as organizations rely more on IT and technology. In the first quarter, hiring for tech roles as a percentage of total hires saw the largest quarter-over-quarter increase at 34%, for both contingent and non-contingent workers.

Over the past 12 months, year-over-year wage growth averaged 3.5%, while inflation averaged 7.5% for all workers. Magnit’s report utilizes proprietary algorithms to aggregate, cleanse, anonymize, and analyze data from various internal and external sources, including hundreds of client programs. The company manages data on hundreds of thousands of workers across over 51,000 unique roles.

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65% of businesses polled were optimistic about hiring

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower released a report on Friday that showed the country’s employment market had grown for the sixth consecutive quarter, with low unemployment rates. However, the number of layoffs increased in Q1 2023.

The report’s advance estimates showed that the labor market continued to expand, but at a more moderated pace compared to the previous quarter. Excluding migrant domestic workers, the total employment grew by 34,500 in Q1 2023, with both resident and non-resident employment growth moderating.

Resident employment continued to surpass its pre-pandemic level as of March 2023, while non-resident employment grew above its pre-pandemic level for the first time. Most of the employment growth came from non-residents, primarily in construction, while resident employment saw the largest gains in community, social and personal services, and financial services.

Overall unemployment continued to trend downward, with a decline of 0.4% year-on-year to 1.8%. The unemployment rates for residents stood at 2.5% and for citizens at 2.7%. There were 61,500 unemployed residents in March 2023, of which 54,900 were citizens, a comparable share of citizens among unemployed residents to that of the labor force.

The ministry noted that layoffs were rising to levels that have not been seen since 2016 and 2017, primarily in manufacturing, construction, and services sectors, attributed to reorganisation, restructuring, and downturn in the industry.

Despite this, the ministry found that 65% of businesses polled were optimistic about hiring, with plans to increase headcount and raise wages.

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Ex-Hyland workers band together after layoffs

Following the layoff of 20% of its staff, Hyland, a technology company based in Westlake, Ohio, a group of those affected by the job cuts came together to enhance their job search skills. The former colleagues gathered at Doki Doki Kawaii Shop, a hobby store in Lakewood, Ohio, owned by a former Hyland employee, to process their emotions and figure out how to proceed.

Two former senior talent acquisition partners, Lisa Weingart and Jay Jakovina, provided insight on resume writing, job searching, interviewing, and what to expect during the hiring process. Weingart explained that many former Hyland employees had no intention of leaving the company and did not know where to start. Therefore, she and Jakovina provided their ex-colleagues with a list of do’s and don’ts, as well as information on various resources available and one-on-one assistance.

According to Weingart, several employees had been at Hyland for an extended period and planned to stay, but they were unsure how to apply their skills to outside roles. Jakovina added that managers who had been in hiring positions shared the types of interview questions they asked, while workers who had been laid off a year before provided insight on what to expect in the coming months.

The gathering allowed the workers to mourn their job loss but also support one another. It was the first time many of them met in person as they had been working remotely since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual session is also being considered to reach remote workers who are not in proximity to Hyland’s headquarters outside of Cleveland.

Apart from the informal workshop, the ex-Hylanders launched a Slack channel to stay in touch. Several hundred people have joined, and members share job opportunities and exchange job search tips with each other.

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Laid-off US workers turn to freelancing

According to a survey by talent platform Fiverr, 77% of US workers who were affected by recent layoffs are planning to explore new industries. The report also revealed that many of these laid-off workers are interested in pursuing freelance work, in addition to changing careers.

Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman explained that the economic downturn, especially in the tech sector, has prompted a “talent migration” as skilled workers reconsider their career priorities and seek alternative work opportunities. Freelancing has become an appealing option for many laid-off workers who want more control over their careers, as observed on Fiverr’s platform.

The survey found that 33% of respondents plan to freelance while looking for a new job, and 34% plan to maintain a side hustle even after returning to full-time work. Sign-ups for freelancers providing programming and tech services notably increased in January 2023 compared to the previous year, following layoffs in the tech sector.

The report also indicated that 32% of respondents who did not want to return to full-time employment cited a lack of trust, while 56% appreciated the flexibility of not having a 9-5 job.

Fiverr partnered with Censuswide to conduct the survey among 501 white-collar or office workers in the US who reported being laid off in the last three months. The data was collected between March 8 and March 20.

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Operations are ceased ‘for foreseeable future’ 

Around 675 employees will be laid off across “all areas” of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit after funding talks collapsed last week, prompting the British billionaire to inject millions into the company. 

 According to media reports, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is laying off 85% of its staff and will cease operations for the foreseeable future. The satellite launch company, which is 75%-owned by the British billionaire’s Virgin Group, was unable to secure new funding from investors and in January, the company failed to complete the first-ever satellite launch from UK soil. 

 Sir Richard’s investment firm Virgin Investments has injected $10.9m (£8.8m) into Virgin Orbit “to fund severance and other costs related to the workforce reduction.” Virgin Orbit chief executive Dan Hart told employees during a Thursday afternoon meeting that the company would be ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future”. Following news of the layoffs, shares in the company plummeted by 38% in after-hours trading in New York. 

 The staffing cuts will impact around 675 employees across “all areas of the company”, Virgin Orbit said in a regulatory filing, adding that other total costs are expected to reach just over $15m (£12.1m). 

 It was reported last week that Texas-based Matthew Brown had been in talks to invest $200m (£161m) in the company, but those talks collapsed last week, according to Reuters. A report in the Financial Times also suggested Virgin Orbit’s chief executive Dan Hart is hoping to seal a last-minute investment to stop the firm from collapsing.The company furloughed nearly all of its 750 employees earlier this month in what Mr Hart described as an “operational pause” while Virgin Orbit sought a financial lifeline. 

 Virgin Orbit was founded in 2017 and had been valued at $3.2bn when it went public in 2021 through a “blank cheque deal”, but its failed satellite launch represented a major blow to the business. 

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Fears of an upcoming recession have led to 17,456 job cuts

Amid a worsening global economic outlook, Accenture is set to lay off 19,000 workers, with more than half of the job losses affecting non-billable corporate functions. CEO Julie Sweet noted that companies are prioritizing compressed transformations and cost-cutting measures while investing in future growth opportunities. Other companies like Google, Meta, and Twitter have also announced mass layoffs in recent months. Meanwhile, Walmart is cutting hundreds of workers at e-commerce facilities across five US locations due to reduced evening and weekend shifts. Fear of an upcoming recession has already resulted in a surge of job cuts in the retail sector. Amazon.com is also planning to lay off an additional 9,000 employees soon. Last year, US furniture company United Furniture Industries fired all of its 2,700 workers via text or email two days before Thanksgiving. Google employees have recently sent a letter to CEO Sundar Pichai asking for various commitments during the layoff process, including a freeze on new hires.

Fears of an upcoming recession have already led retailers to announce 17,456 job cuts so far in 2023, compared with 761 in the same period last year, Reuters reported, citing a March report by executive placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

An alternative to layoffs

Instead of laying off staff, companies can ask employees if they would be willing to reduce their hours or take a temporary pay cut to help the company weather the tough times.

Vikas Agrawal, Co-founder of Infographic Design Agency Infobrandz in India commented: “It’s crucial for the company to communicate openly and transparently with employees about the situation and to be fair and equitable in any reductions that are implemented. It is also helpful to offer support services such as counseling or financial planning resources to help employees through the transition. This can help preserve jobs and maintain morale. Overall, it’s important for companies to be proactive and consider all options when faced with tough times.”

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Reports job market poised to continue cooling

Online jobs advertising platform Indeed announced today that it is laying off approximately 2,200 people, or roughly 15% of its global workforce. The layoffs take effect March 31.

Indeed CEO Chris Hyams discussed the layoffs in a message.

“I am heartbroken to share that I have made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount through layoffs,” Hyams wrote. “This is a decision I truly hoped I’d never have to make.”

The layoff decision comes as the job market appears poised to continue cooling.

Last quarter, US total job openings were down 3.5% year over year while sponsored job volumes on the site were down 33%, Hyams wrote. Indeed expects that US job openings will likely decrease to pre-pandemic levels of about 7.5 million or even lower over the next two to three years.

“With future job openings at or below pre-pandemic levels, our organization is simply too big for what lies ahead,” his message states. “We need clarity, focus, and urgency to ensure that all of our energy is directed towards investing in our future. We have held out longer than many other companies, but the revenue trends are undeniable.”

Hyams noted that he will be taking a 25% cut in base pay. In addition, 75% of his total compensation is directly tied to Indeed revenue growth and is at risk given current trends.

The cuts come from nearly every team, function, level and region.

“The specific decisions on who and where to cut were extremely difficult, but they were made with great care,” Hyams wrote. “We focused on preparing the organization for the future, aligning with our strategy and priorities, and reducing duplication of effort and inefficiency. We worked closely with the HR, legal, and [diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging] teams to ensure objectivity and equity in these decisions.”

Indeed also announced a severance package that includes 16 weeks of base salary, or two weeks for every year of services, and ongoing career placement services for the next six months.

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1 in 3 workers do not have the necessary foundational skills required to enter most jobs

Amid the latest Amazon tech layoffs, Pluralsight has published a report highlighting the strain felt by managers trying to maintain control. Although most tech managers are under pressure to cut costs, Pluralsight’s data shows that 72% of team leaders plan to invest in upskilling their existing workforce. The report states that 100% of those surveyed believe in prioritizing the development of their current staff instead of hiring new talent. Gary Eimerman, Pluralsight’s Chief Product Officer, emphasized the shift in focus towards maximizing employee potential and the importance of continuous upskilling to remain competitive in the long run.

As the economic uncertainty of 2023 places a burden on tech team managers, the domino effect of tech layoffs leads to teams that are palpably strained. Pluralsight data suggests that managers in data analytics, IT, and software engineering are finding their team members taking on more responsibilities, with 67% of respondents confirming this. Moreover, 47% of those surveyed admitted to performing additional duties outside of their job description.

Reinvestment in upskilling remains the preferred method of survival for companies as the effects of tech layoffs continue to ripple through the industry. Pluralsight’s data shows that about half of the respondents agreed that the uncertain economic times call for new tech skills. In 2022, the tech skills gap narrative took center stage, with researchers positing that 1 in 3 workers do not have the necessary foundational skills required to enter most jobs.

Gary Eimerman, Chief Product Officer at Pluralsight said: “Organizations and individuals alike are being asked to do more with less in the face of reduced workforces and larger economic pressures. For longevity, companies will need to emphasize “continuous upskilling” to “sharpen their competitive edge.”

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