The tech world has been rocked by mass layoffs as giants like Meta, Elon Musk-owned Twitter and Amazon lose jobs amid economic uncertainty.
The number of IT layoffs in 2022 alone accounts for more than half of all layoffs from Covid-19, according to layoffs.fyi, a tracking website.
“Tech companies of all shapes and sizes are retooling, scrutinizing expenses, and ultimately laying off employees,” said Erin Lau, director of service operations at Insperity, a human resources consulting firm.
This creates a tight job market that is “inundated with unemployed professionals and qualified candidates,” he added.
In addition to intense competition, job seekers also face the challenge of gaining “adaptation” to meet the demands of a rapidly changing technology industry, said Pooja Chhabria, career expert at LinkedIn.
“Companies are constantly in disruption mode, so today’s requirements for a job may change tomorrow. Employers are therefore keen to recruit tech-savvy talent – they not only meet a specific need of today, but have skills that are time-tested. future to meet the needs of the future,” he added.
CNBC Make It spoke to career experts who have tips for laid-off tech workers who are looking for new jobs in a tough economy.
1. Invest in skills development
Skills are now “the new currency” at work, and companies are adopting a skills-based hiring approach, Chhabria said.
“Over the past year, 40% of LinkedIn hires explicitly used skills data to find talent, which is up 20% year-over-year,” he added.
“Most significantly, these hirers are 60% more likely to find a successful hire because of this shift in approach.”
To differentiate yourself from the competition out there, Chhabria suggested paying attention to “growing fields where investments are being made.”
“For example, we’ve seen large investments in AI and machine learning, so skills like SQL, Python, and AWS are all in-demand skills in software and IT with significant growth since 2015.”
Whether you’re looking to refresh your skills or possibly make a career pivot, don’t overlook your transferable skills, she added.
“Often in order to find your way into the job or industry you want, you don’t need to completely review your skills, and you may already have the similar skills needed to change careers.”
Setting up job alerts can also help pinpoint learning opportunities, said Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster.com.
“Start with the end in mind. Go through job descriptions to look at the skills and requirements of the jobs you’re pursuing to fill in the gaps,” she explained.
“If there’s a new certification, for example, in technology that you don’t have but it looks like you should and it’s a growing trend, then try pursuing it.”
2. Time is of the essence
The good news is that there are still technology opportunities available in “countless industries,” Salemi said.
Major job cuts in non-tech industries are also unlikely, according to a Morgan Stanley research note this month, as “the [U.S.] the broader economy remains understaffed.”
Chhabria added that there are currently more than 3.5 million open jobs in Asia-Pacific in industries not limited to technology, such as professional services, retail, healthcare and financial services.
“Understanding what skills you need to get a job in those industries is an important first step,” she said.
While there are jobs available, experts told CNBC Make It that time is of the essence.
“When I’ve worked in corporate recruiting, I’ve typically seen a decrease in applications in December even though we were actively hiring,” Salemi said.
“Job seekers will have less competition when they apply, considering most people pause their search until January. Don’t wait.”
LinkedIn’s Chhabria agrees, saying there are still “a lot of companies” hiring now and being the first to apply will give candidates an extra edge.
“Linkedin [data] shows that you are four times more likely to be hired for a position if you apply in the first 10 minutes, so set up job alerts to notify you as soon as a job that meets your criteria is posted, and apply as soon as possible,” she added .
In addition to highlighting technical skills on your resume, soft skills like time management and customer service are also crucial.
“In this uncertain environment, employers are also placing more emphasis on soft skills such as problem solving, communication and resilience. These are key skills that tech workers also need to demonstrate as we work in a hybrid environment with teams spread all over the world.”
Acknowledging that it’s natural to feel anxious and lost after being fired, Chhabria said “proactively addressing” these feelings is the best way to deal with them.
“Being part of a community and seeking help by talking to others in a similar situation could also be helpful,” she added.
“Start by contacting your network… [that] it can be the first step in opening the door to connections and conversations with your current contacts, who may be able to offer advice, support or give presentations that can help you get hired.”
For example, public spreadsheets are circulated on LinkedIn that compile the contact details of dismissed tech workers and open tech roles in the Asia-Pacific region.
Chhabria stressed that workers should prioritize networking as professionals are “four times more likely” to be hired through their network.
“Make sure you engage and regularly vet your professional community to pave the way for mentorship opportunities, career advice, and potential employment opportunities… Be specific about the type of role you want, your level of experience, and the value you bring to a team”.