Welcome to the painful world of human resources where AI tools may take over work from professional hirers who are currently facing the axe. While job openings for HR professionals increased 130% during the pandemic, they have now dwindled by about 40%. Companies like Apple and Okta were among the first ones to have laid off hiring teams in an attempt to recession-proof their futures.
This move makes sense because during the ‘Great Resignation’ companies were striving to grow their hiring teams in order to keep up with the demand for new workers. With hiring slowdowns and freezes on the horizon, too many recruiters are on the payroll.
Throughout the tech industry, recruiters – the frontline soldiers in a war for tech talent – are at the receiving end of what is expected to be a months-long cycle of tech layoffs. What worries the hiring industry is the possibility that it will happen too soon and prolong their unemployment as companies take up to years to stay afloat during the downturn.
Last year on LinkedIn, there were 364,970 job postings for recruiters in tech – than for software engineers – 342,586. Companies, particularly those that enjoyed a robust revenue growth during the pandemic, beg big on the surge in consumer online activity and aggressively hired more tech talent. ZipRecruiter noted that last year in April, companies were posting more than 10,000 opening for tech recruiters, more than double over a year earlier. This went on even as inflation, rising interest rates, and other disturbing trends indicated slowed growth were emerging.
By October, the work had dried up and so did the postings for tech recruiters which had now fallen to about 2,500, according to figures by ZipRecruiter. Companies are now restructuring with measures such as layoffs and hiring freezes as they enter the last phase of the boom-bust cycle.
This trend isn’t new. The first in line are always contractors working in recruitment jobs as companies trim costs. What’s surprising this time is that some full-time staff recruiters have also reported losing jobs recently.
Tech titans like Meta, Google, Microsoft and Intel intend to slow hiring or freeze it amid the economy uncertainty. Twitter and Coinbase have rescinded job offers. Tesla, Netflix, Peloton and Shopify laid off staff.
According to Layoffs.fyi, a crowdsourced site that tracks layoffs, more than 580 startups laid off nearly 77,000 workers in recent months. While there are no comprehensive data on the exact number of recruiter layoffs in the tech industry, an analysis by interviewing.io, a platform for engineers to practice technical interviews, suggests that companies that have made job cuts have, on average, reduced their recruiting staff by about 50%, as opposed to, for example, 10% of software engineers and 12% of product and design staff.
Many laid-off recruiters are now struggling to find work. For some the best bet at surviving is taking up roles that offer 30% to 40% less than what they made in the tech industry. Some are hesitant to join another VC-backed startup given what happened in recent weeks. While some are applying to as many as 50 positions every week since their contracts ran out.
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