A common question I get is when Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Meta, Netflix, Apple, and other big tech firms will hire again.
Folks have spent months or years getting ready for interviews at these companies. The layoffs and hiring freezes have put a sudden halt to the recruiting process.
My answer to this question is a lot more nuanced than one might expect.
First, as these companies implemented hiring freezes and layoffs, it’s not the case that they completely stopped hiring anyone. I had clients who still received recent offers to join some of these companies. They’re in the areas of critical hires–some are back-fills that these companies must have. Some are new areas that these companies are investing in, such as AI and machine learning. But there is a very small number of openings right now. You need to have highly marketable, unique skills and experiences to be considered for these positions. Most of these positions are technical in nature. So, some limited hiring is still happening.
Second, I believe more layoffs will come out of Google and Meta. Google’s initial cut was too small. There is still a tremendous amount of fat inside Google. It’s simply not sustainable. I also wonder if Sundar Pichai will be forced to leave as investors continue to put more pressure. Every single current and former Google employee I talked to agrees with me that Google will be fine if it lays off another 20,000 to 30,000 people. That’s scary. Similarly, Meta will have more trimming to do. It has already started flattening the organizational structure. I think it’s essentially conducting a second round of layoffs.
So, I don’t see Google and Meta returning to a hiring spree any time soon. It’ll be a very measured pace of opening up new positions.
Third, AWS will be the first org inside Amazon that will resume some hiring. AWS is dominant. Cloud migration still has a long way to go. AI adoption will also increase the usage of AWS. So, I’m still very bullish on AWS. Technical positions such as Solution Architect and Software Developer in AWS will become more available in the next few quarters. It will start slow in Q2, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see an acceleration in the later part of the year.
Fourth, I wonder if the days of big tech compensation are gone. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon Corporate Workers Face Pay Reduction After Shares Slip. This is happening to almost every big tech firm. Will they recover to the previous level? None of us know. But I do think companies will be a lot more stingy in compensation as they navigate the current economic environment. It’s important to re-calibrate and reset your compensation expectations–during the last few years, the job market demonstrated a tremendous amount of irrational exuberance, but it’s not sustainable.
Fifth, I think the next great career opportunity might be in small companies. ChatGPT and AI are real. It’s happening right in front of our eyes. It’s time to seriously think about how you want to ride this wave for the next 10-15 years. A lot of fortune will be made, and great careers will be built if you can ride this next wave. This is not just hype. This is real.