2022- A Look Back at Hiring in Tech

by Pranav Ramesh
December 27, 2022

2022 was supposed to be the year businesses and the economy recovered from Covid and returned to their pre-pandemic norms. Most of us yearned to return to how things were “before.”

Instead, 2022 had other plans. Covid is certainly still a concern around the globe, though it’s far less impactful in the day-to-day lives for most individuals and companies. Instead, the changes that 2022 foisted upon us were something entirely different; something more fundamental. This past year felt like the beginning of a paradigm shift- its duration and destination unknown- that threatens to reshape nearly every aspect of our daily routines. So, as we look forward into 2023, and beyond, let’s reflect on some of themes of 2022 at the heart of these shifts for employers and employees across tech.

A Talent Market in Crisis or Transition?

In hindsight, it is now evident that the pandemic reshaped the relationship between employer and employees. More than perhaps ever in history, employees are demanding more, and not just in terms of higher salaries. Indeed, the median household income in 2022 was roughly $78,000 compared to the prior year’s median household income of approximately $71,000. Employees wanted more communication, better company culture, and more flexible work arrangements, among others concerns. And they showed they were willing to accept less pay for more meaningful work in less toxic environments.

Employers who couldn’t meet the expectations of their employees experienced many of those workers quitting throughout 2022. Although it started a year or two earlier, the Great Resignation exploded this year. While 40% of all workers were thinking about quitting their current jobs, four million employees a month actually did so in 2022, with August seeing the largest numbers of resignations per month at 4.2 million. Some who quit went to greener pastures, but some have no plans to return. We will end this year with just over ten million unfilled jobs.

Unfortunately, others who quit were still on the payroll. “Quiet Quitting” was a hot topic throughout 2022, and with good reason. This phenomenon cost U.S. companies an estimated $500 billion. Instead of leaving their posts, these employees decided to minimize productivity and effort, only putting in the level of work they deemed equal to their current compensation…and not one bit more. Gallup found that a full two-thirds of US workers were quiet quitting, which, while high, is less than the 85% of global workers doing the same. Sadly, this means only 15% of workers worldwide are engaged at their jobs.

Flexible work arrangements also continued to be a significant challenge for employers this year. Unbelievably, there was a time when many believed that employees would return to the office full force once Covid restrictions were lifted. But, of the 125 million full-time workers in the US, more than half now believe they can do their job remotely. Most employees want to continue the work from home trend, with roughly 60% of workers wanting some type of hybrid home-office schedule and a full third want to work from home full time. Like it or not, flexible work arrangements look like they are here to stay.

 

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The Highs and Lows of a Bumpy Year for Tech

In the volatile and uncertain economic climate of the past few years, tech has been one sector that has stood out as resilient- if not thriving. A massive hiring boom that continued into 2022 which saw tech companies, both large and small, grow and expand. But, as the latest news suggests, we may be at the beginning of a pullback in both hiring and company growth.

Last month, Meta, laid off more than 11,000 workers. Amazon, HP, Twitter, Cisco, and many others did the same. To date, 986 tech companies have laid off more than a combined 150,000 workers during 2022.

These layoffs indicate larger shifts within those organizations, as many of the tech giants scrapped or limited some of their bigger projects. It was just last year that Facebook essentially shifted its entire focus toward the Metaverse, even going as far as to change its name. The “Metaverse” was even in contention as the Word of the Year by Oxford. Yet just over a year later and the Metaverse has struggled to gain ground.

There were other struggles across tech, as well. Amazon’s layoffs were compounded by the lack of success with Alexa, the company’s voice-assistant that never gained real appeal with consumers. The compa