The Golden Age Of Tech Is Over – Is There An Upside To The Exodus Of Tech Layoffs

Is the golden age of tech over? Learn more about how and where tech layoffs are occurring in the article below....
The Golden Age Of Tech Is Over – Is There An Upside To The Exodus Of Tech Layoffs
Written by Staff
  • Following an exodus of mass layoffs in the tech industry over recent months, many employees are starting to panic over the possibility that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely to replace them in the workplace, forever. 

    At least, that’s how one Microsoft engineer felt after posting to the anonymous networking site Blind. In their post, the engineer wrote, “Software engineering is a dying profession,” and titled it “Face it, golden age is over.”

    All across the industry and forum platforms such as Blind, disgruntled tech workers are being faced with a hard realization – that the tools they once created, which made them nearly untouchable are likely to replace them in the coming years. 

    Techies are finding themselves in a fast-changing environment against the backdrop of growing big tech layoffs. As household names in Silicon Valley continue to freeze open positions and cut jobs left and right, many company executives are looking to fill these jobs with AI to boost productivity and keep costs to a minimum. 

    Big tech is looking thinner than ever 

    After undergoing a frantic hiring spree during the late 2010s, and at the height of the pandemic, tech giants started realizing that their appetite for expansion was bigger than what their balance sheets could handle. 

    From Amazon to Google, Meta, and Oracle to Microsoft, Shopify, and Zoom, the list of companies that hired employees en masse during the pandemic were all those that were seeing slashing of their headcount since the start of last year. 

    As inflation continued to remain stubbornly high, aggressively high-interest rates, housing market crisis and private funding dried up, tech companies started trimming the fat to reduce spending and rebalance their expenses. 

    One by one, tech companies announced alarm numbers of layoffs, with Amazon cutting more than 18,000 corporate jobs at the beginning of the year. Others such as Meta have slashed its workforce by 13%, while even Google has said farewell to more than 12,000 employees this year. 

    All over the tech industry, companies big and small have already made some sort of cutback. 

    So far more techies have been booted during the first quarter of the year than the entire amount of employees that got laid off in 2022.

    Consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that more than 102,391 tech employees were laid off in the first quarter of the year, compared to the mere 267 for the same recorded period last year. Total layoffs according to the firm are already 5% higher than last year’s annual total. 

    Surprisingly enough, big tech is starting to warm up to its thinner and less bulky shape. 

    This strategy has been working for many companies, despite having to let go of thousands of employees. Companies such as Salesforce, Meta, and Microsoft, among other major-league names have all recently reported better-than-expected earning results. 

    Yes, companies had to rid themselves of excess fat before they could see what lies underneath, and for what it’s worth, it’s starting to reflect on their earnings results. And while companies have announced that they will continue hiring once they have finished their layoffs over the next several months, it’s not to say that it’s for the positions they have axed over the last year or so. 

    Welcome the dawn of AI 

    With the mainstream commercial adoption of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and with search engines such as Bing and Google all now racing to be at the forefront of generative AI development, techies could soon face yet another threat to their job, and this time it’s the technology they created. 

    Artificial Intelligence has in recent months gone viral, and companies big and small are leveraging automated tools as a way to save on costs, but also boost their productivity. 

    Instead of using three or four software engineers to compile coding for new projects, companies are now able to replace those roles with one or two systems that can operate a project more efficiently. 

    Big tech companies are already testing new technical infrastructure. Earlier in a March memo to shareholders, Google’s head of engineering, Urs Hölze said that the company would aim to “find more efficient ways of doing things.” 

    Outside of the tech industry, other business leaders are also catching wind of new automation trends, as they seek out innovative technical infrastructure to help ease them into a new era of digital transformation. 

    Following a recent note by the global bank, Morgan Stanley, analysts led by Brian Nowak noted that new drivers of automation and productivity, stemming from AI are coming to the global landscape. 

    While their observation doesn’t necessarily mention that AI will outright place thousands, even millions of tech jobs, it does however refer to the potential AI-assisted coding tools can have in the long term. 

    The note further goes on by citing a Microsoft executive that claimed using GitHub Copilot has already helped the company improve productivity by 55%. The iteration here focuses on the nearly $6 trillion opportunity AI could present for the global shared economy. 

    Highlighting how companies can be using AI-based tools and systems to streamline their operations more effectively is perhaps more of a dagger to the heart than an anecdote for some tech employees. 

    Now that tech companies have a bit of extra leverage, and cash following droves of employee layoffs, many of them are now betting big on the future of AI. 

    Some organizations have started using existing tech infrastructure to help eliminate barriers and create new opportunities for their digital systems. Take Semafor, a global news platform that has since the start of the year reported using OpenAI to teach its own AI new methods of software engineering. 

    Other industry leaders such as Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque have previously said that AI will prove to be more disruptive than the pandemic and that in the next five years, programmers will become obsolete. 

    Elsewhere, reports have started making headlines of AI advancements such as ChatGPT have already started threatening the job security of some tech employees. 

    Face it, the golden age of AI has only just started. 

    When will tech hire again?

    One question on everyone’s mind remains whether or not tech giants will rehire previous employees, or at most start hiring again once economic conditions have improved. 

    While there is no certainty to this, there is however the observance that tech companies, and especially more so, tech workers have started shifting their focus from the tech developments of the early 2000s and mid-2010s that were once the pinnacle of digital and technological innovation. 

    Instead, mainstream companies are taking a different approach and rather focussing on the more important matters that could help revolutionize the future of digital technology in the mainstream ecosystem. 

    Companies and startups in aerospace engineering, finance, and healthcare have been taking in laid-off techies, as demand within these mainstream industries continues to grow on the back of private and public funding. 

    Increased spending for U.S. defense has seen aerospace and defense companies stuffing their employee coffers, a trend that is the opposite of what’s taking place elsewhere in the macroeconomy. 

    Companies that are often more recession-resistant, such as healthcare, education, and even finance have continued hiring new employees as these industries become increasingly digital and move to integrate more advanced technological infrastructures within their operation models. 

    Further down cybersecurity companies have also seen a revival as online threats and malicious bad actors continue to be a major challenge for the digital ecosystem. 


    While the jobs may not offer similar benefits as that of the once-golden-faced tech industry – big salaries, hefty bonuses, and career advancements – they do provide a near-term solution for thousands of employees that have been put out of work by the same systems they once touted as the future of technological innovation. 

    Whichever side of the fence you may be sitting on, we have reached a point where our own ambitions have replaced our jobs, and not in the way we have hoped for. And if even the programmers and software engineers aren’t immune to these threats, it could soon pose a bigger catastrophe in the global labor market.

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