The tech sector has been a lifesaver for thousands of Toronto workers during the pandemic. As service workers were laid off during the lockdown, tech companies siphoned them off and gave them more opportunities for new, more profitable careers.
But now it’s the tech sector that’s under duress. Over the past few months, major companies such as Wealthsimple, Thinkific Labs Inc., Clearco and Coinsquare have laid off hundreds of employees each, with a total of tens of thousands laid off across the sector. Rumors of a recession, a sharp drop in online shopping, and the impact of inflation on earnings are driving technology sales down and stock prices plummeting.
According to data tracker Layoffs.fyi, 448 startups have laid off about 62,000 people in total by 2022. Ritual, Wealthsimple, Clearco and Touchbistro carried out his round of layoffs, the largest in Toronto this year, but no Canadian company cut as deeply as Ottawa’s tech darling Shopify.
The e-commerce company announced last week that it would furlough 10% of its workforce, or about 1,000 people. His LinkedIn, a networking platform, has been inundated with layoff announcements, job search posts, and words of sympathy from those who survived the cuts.
The Star spoke to recently laid-off tech workers and students poised to enter the tech industry soon, and they said they expected an even tougher year ahead, but they’re making career choices. It turns out that no one has regrets. Expectations are still rosy.
When Shopify’s layoffs rolled out, Victor Escobedo was able to sympathize with those affected. Because he was laid off less than two months after he worked in the tech industry for eight years.
Escobedo worked for a small company at Web3. He’s been in tech all his life, but he just made the switch of his own volition.
“It’s kind of weird,” said Escovedo.
Escobedo always felt solid in the tech world, but when earlier this year he started hearing about major tech companies laying off employees, he knew he could be next. . After all, most of the roles that were cut were not developers or engineers, but roles focused on people like him: customer service, hiring, etc.
But still, it happened sooner than he expected.
Today, the Escobedo job market appears to be changing dramatically. He’s sent his resume “thousands of times” and is doing everything right, but he’s not bitten. In the meantime, I’m working on my startup.
He believes the job market will stabilize next year, but prepares for a bumpy road in the short term.
“There will definitely be more layoffs,” Escovedo said. “This year is going to be a tough year.”
For students who chose technology for its myriad applications and strong job market, layoffs can bode ill for them after graduation.
Komal Saini, a computer science undergraduate at the University of Toronto, says he is always optimistic about his job prospects because computer science is widely applied in a variety of industries.
But Saini said in an email that hearing about a string of layoffs and job cancellations was a “wake-up call.”
“I felt pressure to think about what I wanted to do after graduation,” she said. “How do I differentiate myself from the thousands of candidates applying for the same jobs as me? How do I put myself in a position that cannot be easily replaced or thrown away?”
Saini, who now interns at a startup in San Francisco for the summer, used to feel confident about college, degrees and internships, but now whether she’s done enough to secure future graduate students. Many of her friends are thinking about going to graduate school for the first time to gain a competitive edge, she said.
“It’s unnerving to see fear-driven choices being made as a result of the current situation, both in myself and in the students around me.”
But there is hope on the horizon. Megha Kumar, her vice president of services for research, software and cloud at IDC Canada, said Canada’s tech industry is thriving and the recent line-up of layoffs will affect the industry’s attractiveness in the long run. said not to give
The companies that enacted the layoffs have bet on the market based on the over-enthusiastic interest in technology caused by the pandemic.
As a result, “many recruitments were made.”
Now, with inflation hitting businesses and shifting consumer demand in a post-pandemic world, these companies are being forced to streamline their current workforces and narrow down their offerings.
But in the long term, the Canadian tech industry will continue to grow, Kumar said. She points out that while some large companies made headlines with layoffs, many others continued to hire, and some were even scooping up workers laid off by Shopify and others. did.
That’s something that even those who have been laid off have noticed and taken to heart.
Despite being fired from the co-op, Vancouver student Ash Peng is optimistic about his career choices.
Peng moved from China to Canada in 2019 to study Computer Science. This is a former translator career his shift.
The 4th grade co-op abruptly ended months early, and the company fired two students and her own boss for financial reasons.
“I was shocked,” said Penn, who realized the industry was going through a “downturn” after hearing other companies were making their own layoffs.
But Peng doesn’t think layoffs are a bad sign for her post-graduation career. She believes this recession is temporary and she is confident she can find her place in the industry.
“A lot of companies are hiring too,” she said. “It’s not like the tech industry is completely dead.”
Arjun Sharma is also confident.
He graduated from the University of Toronto in 2019 and has since held consistent tech positions, first at startups and then at Ritual. After surviving his one layoff at Ritual in 2021, Sharma was laid off earlier this year but already had another job on the table.
“I still see people getting hired,” he said, adding that recruiters are still contacting him on LinkedIn.
Nonetheless, he has pondered what he would do if his new job was laid off halfway through.Sharma has been working on several side projects, some of which are making money. He calls them passion projects, but he also says they’re more reassuring in light of high-profile layoffs in Canada’s tech industry.
But in the long run, Sharma believes the industry is just about ready to rebalance after the pandemic boom.
“Even my current company continues to hire and grow,” he said.
“I think it will continue to be a growth industry.”
Using files from The Canadian Press
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Technician layoffs and affected workers
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