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Leadership Advisory

What’s next for laid-off technology leaders?

By May 15, 2023No Comments
What is next for laid off tech leaders?

Mass layoffs, funding winter, the very recent bank collapses, and the hullabaloo around the larger macro-economic systems have been deafening since late last year. When FAANG-led mass firings first began, it came as a sudden jolt, but the pattern soon became evident as scores of organizations followed with layoff exercises. What is to be noted is that the layoffs weren’t necessarily performance-based. 

Tech companies in particular were doing well post-pandemic, leading to attractive salary packages and high investments in R&D projects among others. Due to the funding slowdown, the ensuing economic crisis, and the post-pandemic upheaval, there has been a market correction in the employment space. The common unifier in each case was CEOs taking ownership and stating aggravated business expectations stemming from the hyper post-covid growth. Tech companies are struggling to stay true to their line of business; they no longer have the resources to run research and development projects or work on prototypes, leading them to let go of exceptional leaders, techies, and, in some cases, entire teams altogether. 

The situation calls for distress but not a loss of heart. In our line of work, we have witnessed that, of those laid off and affected, most of them have been hired by other companies. True talent does not stay unoccupied for long. Now hiring may sometimes come with adaptations, but we are in a different time, and these shifts are of a lesser hassle compared to the larger macroeconomic state of things today. 

For those who are still in deep waters, they are making adjustments to their previously rather high-paying, cushy compensations. Times were different when salaries were on an upward surge, and now times call for a market correction. Many companies, taking advantage of the situation, are now able to capture talented technologists at what we may call market-corrected scales. Techies, on the other hand, have showcased a change of mindset towards their employment. In the past, it was difficult to have someone switch from one role to another and even more difficult to move them geographically. There was a stubborn mindset with respect to location or roles. But now we witness them more open to trying new roles, moving from traditional MNCs to even seed stage startups, leaping into the Co-Founders hat and taking on the entrepreneurial journey, and even shifting countries for that challenging project. This mental shift has been the driving force in the post-layoff climate. 

Interestingly, we have seen during the course of these discussions that most leaders who are taking on entrepreneurial journeys already have a cautious mindset. They wouldn’t want to find themselves in a similar position in the future. Caution and strategy will govern their current decisions.

 Imposter syndrome is real, even more so when it comes to surviving tough times. We have many techies resorting to working on their skill development, focusing on personal growth and their adaptability to changing scenarios. The skills, knowledge, and expertise that technologists have will continue to be put to good use, whether in their own ventures or those of others. 

Authored by Roopa Kumar 

TOI article –