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Losing the prestigious title of ‘dream job’ while working for Big Tech

Despite blockbuster earnings from giants such as Alphabet and Microsoft, layoffs continue to ripple through the tech industry. Layoffs.fyi, a platform monitoring job cuts in the tech sector, recorded more than 263,000 job losses in 2023 alone. As of April, there have been more than 75,000 job losses in the industry so far in 2024.

Even though mass tech layoffs continue, the labor market still seems strong. The U.S. economy added 303,000 jobs in March, well above the Dow Jones estimate for a rise of 200,000, with the unemployment rate edged lower to 3.8%. According to Handshake, a popular free job posting site for college students and graduates, the tech layoffs have prompted new workers to seek other opportunities. The share of job applications from tech majors submitted to internet and software companies dropped by more than 30% between November 2021 and September 2023.

“So instead of rewarding the growth that we saw [tech companies] all pursue years ago, they’re now rewarding profit,” said Jeff Shulman, professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. “And so the layoffs have continued. People have become used to them. Regrettably and sadly, it seems that the layoffs are going to be the new normal.”

“Part of the reason why this is happening is because stability is such a major factor in students’ decisions around what types of jobs they apply to and what types of jobs they accept,” said Christine Cruzverga, chief education strategy officer at Handshake. “They’re looking at the headlines in the news and they’re paying attention to all of the layoffs that are happening in Big Tech, and that makes them feel unstable.”

Mass layoffs have eroded the shine of the tech industry, which is why workers are questioning whether getting a job in the tech industry should still be regarded as a “dream job.” “For the people who are chasing … a tech dream job, I think keep your options open and be realistic,” said Eric Tolotti, senior partner engineer at Snowflake, who got laid off from Microsoft in 2023. “Don’t just focus on one company and feel like you have to get into that one company because it’s the dream.”

Watch the video to learn about tech workers’ sentiments, considerations for aspiring Big Tech employees, and more.

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