Tech Layoffs Predictions 2024: When Will the Job Cuts End?

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In 2023, more than 240,000 roles left the tech industry globally, as many tech giants have shaved their workforce throughout the year. So far, there have been more than 75,000 tech layoffs in 2024.

When will tech layoffs stop? According to one layoff tracker, 270 tech companies have laid off workers this year.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We are beginning to see the emergence of new job roles and opportunities waiting on the horizon.

As business leaders debate whether artificial intelligence (AI) is a force for good on the job-seeking front or if it will kill more careers, let’s examine recent tech company layoffs and then look at the wider landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • The layoffs at tech companies continue: Tesla, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, Apple, Cisco, SAP, and Sony have all made significant cuts.
  • More than 270 tech companies in the tech sector have laid off more than 70,000 in the first quarter of 2024, according to the layoffs tracker.
  • Layoffs reflect a broader trend in the tech job market, where companies increasingly lean on AI and automation for efficiency and innovation, often resulting in a reduced human workforce.
  • Massive tech layoffs spurred ‘Layoff Diaries,’ an emerging trend in which employees film and share their layoff experiences online.

Unfortunately, the tech layoff trend continues to gain momentum.

In April, Amazon said it would continue to cut hundreds of roles within its cloud division, while Dell Technologies announced that 6,000 employees — or around 5% of its workforce — would be let go.

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Microsoft, Google, eBay, and Tesla are all downsizing their employment roster with Tesla planning to let 6,000 employees go in Texas and California..

In March, IBM announced massive job cuts in its marketing and communications division. This follows the tech giant’s announcement last August that it would look to replace 8,000 jobs with AI — with CEO Arvind Krishna hinting that AI and automation could replace up to 30% of back-office roles within five years.

Layoff announcements across the US escalated by 3% in February, making it the highest level in 11 months with a surge to 84,638 job cuts. One of the biggest tech layoffs came from Cisco Systems, which announced a significant workforce reduction of 5%, translating to over 4,000 jobs.

Grammarly reduced its staff by 230 to focus on transitioning towards AI-enabled workplace solutions. The announcements kept coming, with Instacart announcing a layoff of 250 employees, approximately 7% of its workforce, to streamline operations, concentrate on key projects, and make organizational changes.

Apple called time on its autonomous car division, affecting up to 1,400 employees, as it canceled the electric car project and shifted focus to other technological innovations. These moves, totaling 2,320 job losses across four companies, reflect a broader industry trend of adjustments in response to market demands and strategic shifts towards efficiency and innovation.

In February, Electronic Arts (EA) announced a 5% reduction in its workforce, eliminating 670 jobs, and Sony’s PlayStation unit revealed it was also going to lay off 900 employees, accounting for 8% of the division’s workforce. In January, the industry was hit by Twitch‘s decision to lay off 500 employees (35% of its workforce).

Also in February, Travel giant Expedia revealed it would cut 1,500 roles in its Product & Technology division by 2024, significantly reshaping its operational focus.

In other layoff news, Duolingo‘s move to cut 10% of its contractor workforce highlights a growing reliance on AI to perform tasks traditionally handled by humans. This suggests a broader trend of automation and efficiency driving workforce adjustments.

DocuSign also hit the headlines in February when it announced it would be making a significant reduction that would see 6% of its employees depart, with the sales and marketing divisions bearing the brunt of these changes.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg arguably lit the spark of job cuts in 2024 after declaring that 2023 was the “year of efficiency,” only to see the stock jump almost 200% alongside 20,000 job cuts.

In a bold pivot towards AI-centric growth, SAP, buoyed by robust earnings, announced a significant restructuring initiative to reshape its workforce dynamics. The initiative will impact 8,000 roles through reskilling or departures.

Companies Welcoming Their New Employee — ‘Call Me AI’

Dataminr was one company making significant workforce reductions and citing advancements in AI as a key factor. Dataminr, a big data startup valued at $4.1 billion, announced a 20% staff cut in November, amounting to around 150 employees.

This move aligns with the company’s focus on enhancing its AI platform, including integrating predictive and generative AI technologies.

Meanwhile, Klarna‘s CEO, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, revealed a controversial strategic move by instituting a tech hiring freeze because he believes AI can do the jobs instead.

What sets Klarna’s approach apart is its commitment to refraining from layoffs and instead focusing on AI’s potential to handle tasks that once demanded significant human effort.

Siemiatkowski told The Telegraph:

“Things that previously took people a lot of time can be done much faster and much shorter, and we need fewer people to do the same thing. The right thing for us is just to say: ‘Let’s not recruit now, let’s see how this plays out’.”

While this shift towards AI promises undeniable advantages in terms of operational excellence and innovation, it raises pertinent concerns about the impact on employment and regulatory considerations. AI layoffs is a trend we expect to see continue.

Why Are There So Many Tech Layoffs?

Anna Tavis, clinical professor in human capital management at New York University, believes that all industries will continue to “right size” their staffing levels in pursuit of efficiency, cost cutting, and rationalizing their skills portfolio.

“In the aftermath of the recruitment surge post-pandemic, its lingering effects remain evident. Tech firms overspent on growing their staff sizes. Now, they experience a pressing need to recalibrate their ranks and align to the needed levels.

 

“There is a heightened anticipation surrounding the potential labor cost efficiencies from adopting AI. While it is believed that AI might replace some jobs or parts of jobs currently performed by human workers, it is important to note that these expectations might be ahead of their time. Nevertheless, given AI advancements, companies are preparing for a major organizational shift.”

“At its core, the market continues to reward workforce reductions, no matter how compelling the evidence highlights their damaging effect on companies’ cultures. Industry sectors likely to see layoffs in 2024 include tech and tech-related firms and consulting services.”

Vulnerable Roles in Tech

Nick Gausling, business consultant and managing director of Romy Group LLC, sheds light on the intricacies of the tech world under these conditions.

“The tech sector relies heavily on stocks and borrowing. When interest rates rise, borrowing becomes more expensive, and stocks decline. Rates are at their highest level in over two decades and climbing, making more tech layoffs virtually inevitable,” Gausling said to Techopedia.

Gausling’s insights tap into the core challenges facing established tech companies and fledgling startups, illuminating the factors that dictate their survival, scalability, and employee retention strategies in this high-stakes environment.

Many tech startups scramble to get any funding they can, even on unfavorable borrowing terms. Those who succeed might survive the layoffs today but cannot service the debt tomorrow. If your company’s unit economics aren’t already profitable, it’s a precarious situation.

While companies rigorously evaluate roles indispensable to their core operations versus those considered more peripheral, Gausling also emphasizes the heightened vulnerability of specific roles in these uncertain times.

“Staff who directly contribute to building, selling, or servicing the company’s core product are least likely to be laid off in 2024, while those in middle management and support roles are most vulnerable. But in new or experimental divisions outside the company’s bread and butter, even engineers and salespeople need to watch out.”

Preparing for More Job Cuts in 2024

When will tech layoffs stop? Randstad RiseSmart’s Global Severance report suggests the global employment landscape is undergoing a significant transformation, with a staggering 96% of organizations already implementing some form of downsizing in the past year, underscoring the widespread impact of economic challenges and shifting business strategies.

Even more telling is the expectation that 92% of these employers are bracing for further headcount reductions in 2024.

Alarmingly, the survey reveals a critical gap in organizational preparedness; most of these companies appear to lack robust strategies or resources to support their employees effectively through these impending job cuts.

This situation highlights the need for more comprehensive severance and transition plans and raises questions about the long-term implications for workforce morale and the broader socio-economic fabric.

The good news is while AI is enhancing efficiency in fields like software development and IT operations, it struggles with tasks requiring human intuition and manual dexterity. Interestingly, jobs least likely to be affected by AI are those rooted in human empathy and physical skills, such as healthcare, skilled trades, education, and creative professions.

Understandably, many are beginning to ask which careers are safe and which are at risk. But as AI matures, its role should be seen as more of a collaborator than a replacement. As Businesses increasingly leverage AI to enhance efficiency and human experiences, this technological embrace brings forth the critical challenge of maintaining ethical standards.

So, companies must invest in employee training for AI-related skills, ensuring a workforce that complements AI’s capabilities. This approach safeguards jobs and propels the workforce toward a more advanced, AI-empowered future where technology and human talent synergize for greater innovation and efficiency.

Upskilling into AI May Be One Answer

The global tech sector faces a paradox: a 50% increase in tech layoffs, resulting in over 240,000 job losses worldwide in 2023, coinciding with significant investments in AI. This scenario highlighted a complex interplay between technological advancement and job insecurity, casting a shadow over the future of employment.

Despite these challenges, the US labor market showed resilience and adaptability. There is a growing need for workers skilled in generative AI, as indicated by a notable increase in job postings mentioning “GenAI.” This trend suggests a shift towards a more AI-integrated job market, requiring professionals to adapt and acquire new skills to thrive in an evolving employment landscape.

Future-Proofing Your Career

Cliff Jurkiewicz, vice president of global strategy at Phenom, an HR technology company, believes a positive side exists. The good news is there’s a tremendous opportunity for tech jobs in other industries.

“The retail and communications industries are going through massive technology upgrades. AI is driving expansion in tech. Like disruptive technologies before it, AI is creating new roles and new skill requirements for existing roles,” Jurkiewicz told Techopedia.

AI Curators work closely with expansive language data sets to train AI algorithms and ensure that their outputs align with the organization’s goals. AI Ethicists serve as ethical compasses, grappling with questions of fairness and transparency.

“Think of Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park always pushing beyond “can something be done” and asking “but should it be done?”

AI Policy Makers and Legal Advisers scrutinize technical and societal impacts, working in tandem but distinct from AI Ethicists. AI Trainers educate the workforce and the AI itself, acting symbiotic with AI Curators.

AI Auditors are responsible for ensuring the accountability of AI systems, while AI/Tech Interpreters adopt a more strategic lens, translating the overarching impact of AI technologies within an organization.

These roles signal AI’s maturation in the enterprise and underscore the multifaceted responsibilities that come with its adoption.

“Tech professionals have an advantage. Their skill sets are highly marketable to the tremendous opportunities for tech roles in other industries. They also have the background and ability to simplify upskilling for the new AI-based roles. And these new AI roles are just the beginning, with others not far off on the horizon.”

The Six-Fold Rise of Data Jobs in the Tech Industry

Linda Lee, Velocity Global’s chief people and culture officer, shared job trend data from the past five years. The data shows that new employment in data-related jobs increased sixfold from 2018 to 2022.

Lee believes this will likely continue to be a focus in 2024 as data reigns king in business.

“Because borders no longer restrict one’s options for work, we expect borderless hiring to continue its upward trajectory as companies look to boost revenue streams, broaden talent pools, and retain quality talent,” Lee said to Techopedia.

As the tech industry solidifies its role as a global change agent and growth engine, understanding the job market trends for 2024 is becoming crucial for both seasoned professionals and newcomers eager to make their mark.

“The tech space catalyzes worldwide change, innovation, and growth. The job market has been challenging the past couple of years, but the industry’s potential drives those to stay in the space and new talent to enter. The industry will only grow in 2024, and according to the data, enhancing your data skills and highlighting your managerial experiences will help you break through and move up.”

The Bottom Line

As we confront the complexities and contradictions of the tech employment landscape in 2024, the onus is on us — whether as business leaders, job seekers, or industry observers — to adapt, innovate, and ethically navigate this evolving terrain.

While challenges loom large, from unexpected layoffs influenced by economic variables to the relentless drive for efficiency, the industry also holds untapped potential. The future is not just about smarter technology but a more inclusive world for everyone.

Let’s not lose sight of the human element that powers innovation and shapes its impact. Beyond the data and algorithms, our collective choices will define the tech job market and society at large.

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Neil C. Hughes
Senior Technology Writer
Neil C. Hughes
Senior Technology Writer

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with 20 years of experience in IT. He’s the host of the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast, picking up a LinkedIn Top Voice for his influential insights in tech. Apart from Techopedia, his work can be found on INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews. Neil's favorite things in life range from wandering the tech conference show floors from Arizona to Armenia to enjoying a 5-day digital detox at Glastonbury Festival and supporting Derby County.  He believes technology works best when it brings people together.