Half of UK Tech Workers Are Applying for New Jobs Amid Layoff Fears

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UK Tech layoffs

A Report by CWJobs has revealed that over half of tech workers are pre-empting layoffs in their company and have already started applying for new jobs in case redundancies strike their firm. 

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 workers across the UK, discovered that tech workers in London feel at the highest risk than any other region in the country, with just under two-thirds pre-emptively applying for new jobs in case of layoffs. 

Young people were also more likely to be looking elsewhere. Almost two-thirds of 18-24-year old tech workers said they were actively applying for new jobs due to fears of being laid off, compared to 24 per cent of those aged 55 and over, CWJobs found. 

“Tech workers are showing signs of uncertainty around job security – likely triggered by what they are reading in the news and on social media,” Dominic Harget, director at CWJobs commented on the report. 

“Employers need to go the extra mile to reassure them and build a strong sense of security in their current role and long-term career prospects. This could be key to attracting and retaining much-needed talent over the coming months and years.” 

The Big Tech facade is broken

The research arrives at the end of a month plagued by high-profile layoffs in Big Tech companies around the world. 

Just last week, Google announced it would be laying off 12,000 staff, whilst Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta have also announced layoffs of over 10,000 employees respectively over the past month. 

Many large tech companies over-hired during the pandemic due to the increased demand for computing services for remote working, but have recently been forced to downsize amid a looming recession and challenging macroeconomic headwinds. 

"The reality is tech stalwarts over-hired at a pace that was unsustainable and now darker macro is forcing these layoffs across the tech space," Dan Ives, Analyst at Wedbush explained. 

To read more about Big Tech's layoffs, visit our dedicated Business Agility Page. 

The layoffs have sent shockwaves across the tech community, dominating headlines and sparking huge discussions on social media. 

Big Tech companies were previously perceived as some of the best – and most secure – companies to work for, with many workers taking to social media to document their positive experiences working for tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Meta. 

But what once were aspirational workday vlogs showing glamorous corporate perks like catered lunches, gym facilities and sponsored Uber trips has now been replaced with content about unemployment and redundancy.

@midlifecrisisgirl A day in the life of tech. Funny I spoke about it on my live and the next day later, I saw her posts. I hated people making it seem like tech was a fairy magical workplace. Newsflash, it’s not. They’re a corp and these bells and whistles are just there to distract you. #dayinthelifevlog #dayinthelifeintech #techlayoffs ♬ original sound - Angel is in mid-life crisis

Earlier this month, TikTok creator nicolesdailyvlog posted a viral “unboxing” video of an employee appreciation package she received from google. It contained a blanket, and a cold brew coffee machine, amongst other branded gifts.

“This is such a nice gift, and I can’t wait until they send us another one!” she said in the minute-long video.

A week later, she posted a video entitled  “A Day in My Life Getting Laid Off at Google,” in which she recalls waking up to “ominous text” from her manager, and finding out that she had lost access to her work accounts.

Videos like this have left many young tech workers feeling insecure in their jobs, with many fearing they will soon find themselves in the same positions described in the thousands of experiences documented online. 

The future is reassuring 

But the reality is much different than the stories described in the news and social media. In fact, the majority of tech professionals are more than secure in their current positions. 

According to the most recent ONS data, just 1.2 per cent of UK tech companies are currently planning to make a part of their workforce redundant over the next three months. 

This is lower than the national average across all businesses (1.5 per cent), suggesting that high-profile tech layoffs are not indicative of the situation in the wider tech sector. 

A shortage of tech talent remains, and tech professions continue to be in extremely high demand despite the current macroeconomic climate. 

CWJobs data reveals that the number of job vacancies in the UK between October and December 2022 rose to a record high of 502,151 – an increase of 11% against pre-pandemic levels.

"The jobs market remains highly competitive – so if employees or candidates are made to feel insecure or uncertain at any stage, from the job advert through to employment, they will find plenty of opportunities elsewhere,” Mr Harget continued.

“Employers need to address how skilled workers are feeling and take proactive steps to build trust,” he added.

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