How can layoffs and a skills shortage exist at the same time?

Despite thousands of layoffs, tech companies continue to employ thousands more, IE's job board has some new job listings for technology experts
Kirstie McDermott
Layoffs have been on the rise since the pandemic but hiring has increased too
Layoffs have been on the rise since the pandemic but hiring has increased too

Pcess609 / iStock 

With so many tech layoffs globally since mid-2022, 208,181 employees have been let go by 785 tech companies so far this year, it is easy to assume that the industry is trembling on a precipice.

However, the bigger picture isn’t quite so bad.

Gartner’s Mbula Schoen, a senior director analyst, said in a recent blog post, “Gartner research found that the companies behind the 10 largest layoffs in tech talent still employ over 150,000 more people in total than at the beginning of 2020.”

Company failure is not the sole reason for layoffs, with several other elements coming into play.

It began with over-hiring during the pandemic and a subsequent headcount correction, wider economic issues including inflation and higher interest rates, as well as cost-cutting, are all driving factors. 

Layoffs and a talent crunch

Many of the roles that have been made redundant aren’t technical ones.

Instead, many of the jobs lost over the past 18 months have been in other, non-technical areas. founder Roger Lee explains that “sales is the most common role, accounting for 20 percent of the laid-off tech workers. Recruiting and HR are the functions most disproportionately affected relative to their size, it’s becoming quite common for companies to lay off 50 percent or more of their talented teams.”

As a result, another issue has emerged. Despite all the job losses, there simply isn’t a glut of tech talent in the job market, with many employers experiencing a talent crunch, and struggling to fill specific technical roles. 

Forty-three percent of organizations face skill gaps already, and a further 44 percent say they expect a skills shortage within the next five years too. A Gartner study found that 86 percent of CIOs are experiencing more competition for qualified candidates, and 73 percent are worried about IT talent attrition. 

Over the past year, 75 percent of companies have reported difficulty recruiting qualified talent, according to another study. The global talent shortage is at a 16-year-high, and research from Korn Ferry indicates that there could be an 85 million-person shortage by 2030, leading to a collective $8.5 trillion loss in potential annual revenue by the same year. 

Demand for talent

Tech workers themselves confirm the demand they are experiencing. A survey of recently laid-off workers found that those who have been let go have been rapidly mopped up by other companies, with about 79 percent of laid-off workers reporting that they landed a new job within three months of starting their search.

As a result of the skills shortage, several areas have emerged as in demand. Sought-after specialties include web development, DevOps, and database software, according to data from Statista. Those skills are closely followed by AI and ML, mobile development, cloud computing, and UI/UX.

AI needs specific talent for roles such as prompt engineering, and those with skills in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) are also required, feeding into the requirements of Internet of Things companies, the metaverse, or Industry 4.0.

That’s all good news for anyone with the requisite skills, and if you fit the profile and are looking for a new job this year, there are plenty of options. The Interesting Engineering Job Board is a great place to begin a job search, with thousands of job opportunities at interesting companies––like the three below.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Technical practitioners and cyber-focused management consultants with unparalleled experience, Booz Allen Hamilton know how cyber-attacks happen and how to defend against them. It also delivers space defense capabilities with analytics, AI, cybersecurity, and PNT to strengthen information superiority. Want to work here? Discover a range of roles available now.

Lockheed Martin 

Headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American aerospace, arms, defense, information security, and technology corporation with worldwide interests. It has approximately 116,000 employees in the United States and internationally and across its divisions in 2022, net sales were $66 billion. If you're interested in exploring a career here, discover job opportunities now.


Primarily operating in four areas of business across aerospace, building technologies, performance materials and technologies, as well as safety and productivity solutions, Honeywell International Inc. is an American publicly traded, multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Discover all job opportunities here.

Want a new software engineering role? Discover thousands of vacancies on the Interesting Engineering Job Board right now.

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