Silicon Valley tech layoffs to impact families


Graphic by Nivi Khatana

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid off over 11,000 of his employees, the largest cut the company has ever made. On Nov. 9, 2022, in a letter to his workforce, he stated that they will extend their hiring freeze into 2023. This means that they would pause hiring people for a period of time. 

Meta is not the only tech company reducing the size of their workforce; Google, Microsoft, Apple and other tech giants have let go of a significant number of their employees in the past year. Silicon Valley residents have begun to express concern for the implications for the future, as many work in the tech industry. 

Many believe that the country will be facing an economic recession in the near future. A recession is an overall decline in economic output, employment and consumer spending. This could potentially entail high levels of unemployment. Unemployment leads to less consumer spending, and less spending leads to less demand for goods and services. Due to companies’ decreased profit margins, the forecasted recession may urge them to reduce expenses as much as possible, in the form of layoffs. 

Introverted Madness, a youtuber, is a computer science major with experience in the tech industry. In an email, they recently commented on the potential effects of a recession.

“Tech companies are worried about a possible economic downturn [or] recession in the near future, and that if they don’t cut costs they won’t survive,” Introverted Madness said. “One way to cut costs is by having less employees.” 

If big companies are laying off their employees in an effort to cut costs, some might worry that more layoffs will come in the future, and that the quality of products and services could go down. 

“I think in the relative near future, [the layoffs] probably won’t have that huge of an impact, as there are still a ton of tech employees in the area, and some of the ones who were let go will probably still find other jobs in the Bay Area,” Introverted Madness said. “In the long term though, it could signal that the ‘boom time’ of tech is stabilizing, and there won’t be massive growth in the future, and maybe in a few decades you’ll actually start to see changes in Bay Area life as there is less of a massive influx of new tech workers.”

A key element to the downsizing that tech companies have exerted in the past year is the hiring craze of the COVID-19 pandemic. With everyone at home all day, relying on various devices to learn and work, companies saw a significant increase in demand for tech products. Additionally, the pandemic shifted employees to a work-from-home schedule, creating a need for workers whose services were only possible in-person. To combat these factors, more people were hired. 

“A lot of these tech companies really hired during the pandemic, especially companies like Zoom, Microsoft, Meta and Google, and many others, but they definitely saw an increased usage for all of their various products,” Sharadon Smith, Supervisor and Career Advisor at Novaworks Job Center in Sunnyvale, said. “I think that they have realized that they either over-hired during the pandemic, or there have been some new technologies that are potentially dangerous to their business model like ChatGPT […] so it’s kind of a combination of technology and over-hiring.” 

The question of which options the former employees of these companies have, still remains. Silicon Valley has a rich technology scene, so finding another job may not be a problem for most people already familiar with the tech industry. However, times are changing, and new skills are needed in today’s business world. For example, the ability to read and interpret data is valuable, and a skill not every tech worker may currently have.

“One of the things that happens when you’re in tech is if you blink, you can get out of date, because skills and technologies change so fast,” Smith said. “Often, when you’re laid off is a great time to look around and take survey of what’s needed for the future and prepare yourself.” 

The tech industry is a quickly evolving job sector and companys are often forced to make decisions  at the expense of their employees

“Overall, I think these companies let go of people because they’re trying to do what’s best for ‘the company’, and what’s best for the company might not be the best thing for the individual people working at the company,” Introverted Madness said.