The Great Layoff has not dampened the demand for tech talent
- After massive expansion across the industry, the layoffs were inevitable given the fact that managing costs and cash would become paramount for companies.
- Experts reckon that despite the recent layoffs within the industry, the demand for tech related talent continues to grow.
- Many companies within the industry would even consider offering those recently furloughed, a new role in their companies.
Over the past few months, we have been witnessing an alarming amount of layoffs across the tech ecosystem. The sentiment is almost same across board — companies are realizing that they may have overpromised a growth trajectory, over-hired or overestimated their ability to grow. Now that the market is changing, their approach would have to as well, and that is how the Great Layoff took shape.
In our recent article “From Great Resignation to Great Layoff, an increasingly worrying trend in the tech sector?”, we highlighted how several large tech companies, including those in Southeast Asia, have either downsized or slowed down hiring — or even both. In essence, rampant inflation, coupled with fear of stagflation and recession, has led to the convulsive shift from hiring binge during the last two years to belt-tightening now.
This time, Tech Wire Asia speaks to Rene E. Menezes, President and Co-Founder of Involve Asia, who shared and discussed his outlook on the tech layoffs. He also shared what it could mean to companies in the marketing tech (MarTech) and e-commerce sectors.
The interview has been slightly edited for length and clarity.
How is tech’s ‘Great layoff’ affecting the Martech and Ecommerce ecosystems?
For the last 18 months, the struggle for tech companies, especially in this region, was to find, hire and retain talent as the industry was grappling with growth rebounding from the pandemic and the workforce reevaluating the careers they have chosen. This made for a highly competitive recruitment environment and salaries skyrocketing.
Then 2022 saw the world plunge into uncertainty with the Ukraine war, inflation and a bearish stock market. As a result, fundraising has also become extremely challenging. It was inevitable that layoffs would have to follow as managing costs and cash would become paramount for companies.
While e-commerce continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors in Southeast Asia, we’re also seeing prominent tech companies in this industry close business units or consolidate within their organizations. Martech, especially the likes of what Involve offers, has always been resistant to macro pressures due to its extreme accountability and cost efficiency. Attribution and automation remains a focus area for companies as they balance tightening their costs while maintaining growth.
What are your predictions for 2022/2023 around the job market for tech talent?
Despite the recent layoffs within the industry, the demand for tech related talent continues to grow. Data specialists, developers, engineers, marketers and sales professionals will still find many opportunities in the market. Involve for example has around 50 positions vacant across Southeast Asia that we are looking to fill by the end of 2022.
The current situation in the job market, is it a temporary phrase or drawn-out?
While layoffs are happening, it isn’t across the board. Talent in this industry will always be in demand. Everything is becoming more powered or influenced by tech. To be honest, I believe many companies in the industry are looking forward to being able to offer those recently left without jobs, a new role in their companies.
Although in general, the entire tech sector is affected, some areas are more likely to experience more headwinds. We do expect that the e-commerce industry will be able to withstand these market impacts after some initial course correction. There will however be a need to be more careful and strategic about corporate spending and expansion.
We are confident that companies like ours, with strong fundamentals, will continue to grow in the coming difficult times. Ours is a business that is the growth engine of e-commerce so we should continue to scale regardless what the economic environment may be.
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