Four tech labour market scenarios as world enters economic recession


Four tech labour market scenarios as world enters economic recession. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

There is no doubt that we are in a season of economic decline. The writing was on the wall, but like many others, you and I may have waited for the undeniable effects to be seen and felt to believe it.

The world over, we have seen massive layoffs. From companies whose balance sheets we assume are structured to absorb such shocks - at least short to medium term, to well-funded operations 'lucky' enough to raise just before the tipping point to small and medium-sized enterprises that provide the larger share of employment opportunities and start-ups trying to figure product market fit.

The go-to strategy has been to go lean to survive the recession.

The market is teeming with 'free' talent covering all roles imaginable across industries. The mixers I have attended over the past few months have been heavy with the scent of migration.

Many an insider at coveted well PR'd or funded businesses are putting their best foot forward, some with the knowledge of internal tectonics pointing to a coming rationalisation, others want to transition into better remuneration albeit the season, some are looking to dive into their operations as builders and founders.

No path offers any guarantees.

Curated lists published online show available talent, mostly from big tech. I am sure job boards have seen a spike in traffic as waves of seekers look for a soft landing.

The abruptness of some of these announcements makes one reevaluate the term job security. Roles and functions folded into each other. Others have been done away with entirely.

I see four things happening.

First, hiring will slow but not stop. Companies are actively searching for talent. What has changed is they are looking for triple-threat hires to maximise value as business challenges and opportunities abound.

Second, the majority will be open to new adjacent roles even where a pay cut is imminent. Not everyone is built for entrepreneurship. Not everyone has the runway or luxury to while away.

Third, a handful, almost thankful for a 'forced' break, will slink into a sabbatical for a much-needed mental and physical refresh before thinking of what next.

Given the rigours of a hyper-competitive world, many executives find themselves with built-up tensions.

Lastly, new companies will come to life, bootstrapped by executives who held roles that offered insights into gaps that remain unaddressed or new spaces altogether.

The ability to self-fund under current circumstances and draw from a pool of peers who share commonalities cannot be understated.

Njihia is the head of business at Safiri Express | | Twitter: @mbuguanjihia

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