Tech layoffs 2023: lack of upskilling, mass hiring in pandemic led to job-losses
Every private employee is frightened of losing their job as word of layoffs spreads
HYDERABAD: A recession appears to be looming since there have been numerous reports of thousands of layoffs. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Spotify, Go Mechanic, and Swiggy are just a few of the global tech giants that have all simultaneously laid off more than 10,000 employees.
It was quite shocking for the employees, particularly the senior ones who had been with these industry giants for more than 20 years. Every private employee is frightened of losing their job as word of layoffs spreads.
Many individuals are baffled by why these layoffs are rising. Employees are agitated and anxious about their future. Some senior employees who had been with their firms for more than 15–20 years were unable to accept the shock since they had spent the majority of their lives working for these tech big players. Even still, they were perplexed as to what mistakes they had made to warrant their employers' willingness to fire them.
Since we all have many questions and concerns about these escalating layoffs, Newstap interacted with Sandeep Kumar Makthala, global president of the Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA), who shared his insights on these rising layoffs.
What are your thoughts on the recent layoffs at global tech giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google?
One of the primary reasons for these layoffs is automation, mass recruiting during the epidemic, and top employees' failure to upgrade kills. As we all know, these IT giants made massive hirings during the epidemic because they had several projects lined up at the time. During the pandemic, these organisations acquired a variety of contracts in several sectors, such as agriculture and health, for which they hired a large number of new employees. However, now that these projects are complete, these corporations are laying off additional staff, resulting in a rise in layoffs.
We've all heard of ChatGPT, a new trending programme that's giving huge companies like Google a run for their money. According to Microsoft, Google fired staff as a result of the ChatGPT project. Even though ChatGPT is a machine, it feels like you're conversing with a human. As a result, it is clear that layoffs are the result of automation.
Automation played a key role in mass layoffs
Another major reason for these layoffs is "automation," as IT trends shift and greater emphasis is placed on artificial intelligence (AI), data science, robotics, and so on. Layoffs become apparent when automation plays a key role. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), automation will play a significant role in the IT sector, resulting in the loss of 85 million jobs by 2025. However, 97 million jobs will be created as a result of automation. So it's clear that senior IT experts who were let go did not enhance their abilities in line with market trends, which is critical in today's competitive environment. Therefore, in order to survive in this cutthroat IT industry, we must pull up our socks and upgrade as necessary.
Why did these IT giants fire their most senior and loyal employees?
Even IT organisations have a hierarchy, and IT professionals are promoted to the next level on a regular basis. The IT market is extremely dynamic and constantly changing. We have seen numerous versions of the Windows operating system and have even used Windows XP and Windows 10. As the software industry evolves, so must employees; otherwise, they would become outdated in the IT market. I urge all IT employees, junior and senior, to continue upgrading themselves in order to survive in this thriving market.
How to deal with layoffs?
First and foremost, it is critical to remain calm and positive, as this is not the end of the world. Without becoming scared, fired employees should speak with their company about receiving a minimum of six months of salary, health insurance, and life insurance, as many employers only provide two months of funds and insurance during layoffs. I've seen numerous such examples when employees suffered from health problems or heart attacks as a result of layoffs and were unable to access their health insurance. So it is advisable to speak with their company and get health insurance until they find a new job, or for at least six months to be on the safe side. Without giving up hope, people can endeavour to become job creators rather than job seekers and also upgrade their skills. Employees can also contact TITA if they require assistance in this area.
What effect will the recession have on Indian employees?
Since there is more outsourcing and dependence on dependent work in India, Indian employees are most impacted by the recession. The mantra is always to upskill, whether you are in India or abroad, because the same rule applies everywhere. Indians are therefore more impacted because we depend on the client more, and we risk losing the project or our jobs if the client says no.
Employees who have been laid off should become job creators
Given their extensive expertise, contacts, and knowledge of IT projects, recently laid employees should become job creators rather than job seekers. Many laid-off individuals are approaching us since they want to establish their own startups after working for these digital bigwigs for more than 20 years. It's a welcome step by them, and our association will always encourage such initiatives.
How long will the current recession last?
According to the current scenario, the recession will be short-lived, lasting only a couple of months. Instead of giving up, I advise everyone to stay strong and work on upgrading themselves in line with IT market trends.
Given the current situation, what kind of advice would you give to students of computer engineering and IT aspirants?
Technology will never be obsolete because it is required in every industry, including agriculture, health care, and finance. So, if technology is essential, technocrats are also required. The number of IT employees in Telangana state was more than three lakhs in 2013, but it is now more than seven lakhs, indicating that the IT sector will continue to thrive. So, I advise all IT and engineering students not to be alarmed by these layoffs. They only need to master new automation-based technologies. These courses can be taken after completing their college degree or concurrently with their college studies. Educational institutions should also endeavour to incorporate these developing technologies into the curriculum of engineering students.
How is TITA assisting the impacted employees?
Many of the affected employees have come to us for assistance during these difficult times, and our association is doing all it can to assist all of the affected employees. TITA assists students and IT aspirants in finding new jobs, upgrading themselves, establishing their start-ups, obtaining health insurance, and providing beneficial internships.
Students and IT professionals can enrol in Digithon to enhance their skills
Every year, the Telangana Information Technology Association (TITA) organises the international internship programme "Digithon" in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin and Dallas. The three-month programme is typically held in both India and the United States. The internship programme chose twenty-five candidates, who get trained in India for two months before departing for the United States on March 6 for internships at prestigious US colleges as part of the programme. As part of the basic level of the curriculum, students are instructed virtually in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and IoT by experts from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) for two months.
The students then fly to the United States for another one-month internship at UTD, where they will attend classes for 30 days as part of the project. According to Digithon, candidates who obtain a J1 visa will have a validity period of up to 18 months, during which time they will be able to work part-time in a reputable organisation in the AI and ML fields. The first class of Digithon's International Internship has received attractive employment offers from a variety of companies. This internship programme would improve students' job opportunities in foreign nations, particularly the United States.
TITA suggests focusing on these automation-focused IT courses to survive layoffs
- Artificial Intelligence (IT)
- Data Science
- Cyber security
- Blockchain technologies
- Cloud automation
- Digital marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR)