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Tech Life

Despite Economic Uncertainty, Tech Hiring Remains Robust

Despite recent high-profile layoffs by large tech companies, 57% of organizations are adding workers this year, according to a study by the research and training arms of the Linux Foundation.
May 11th, 2023 9:03am by
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Image by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash. 

We already know that the economy is making organizations rethink their IT headcounts. But a new study shows increased willingness to use training on new technologies as a way to retain current employees.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the new survey by Linux Foundation Training and Certification and Linux Foundation Research said their organizations changed their 2023 technical hiring plans due to economic conditions last year.

Despite high-profile layoffs by large tech companies over the past several months, 57% of organizations are adding workers this year, while 20% are cutting jobs 46% have enacted at least some hiring freezes. The total adds up to more than 100% because some companies are trying multiple approaches, hiring in some areas, while cutting in others.

Meanwhile, 50% said they are offering their workers training in new technologies in 2023 as a retention strategy, up from 40% in 2022. Overall, 70% of organizations offer training on new technologies.

The willingness to develop in-house talent also helped ease difficulties in hiring: When they couldn’t fill a position, 58% of survey participants said they trained existing staff on new technologies, while 38% hired consultants.

Findings from the report were gleaned from 418 IT hiring managers. Respondents were employed in a variety of industries, with 45% of participants coming from the U.S. or Canada, 25% from Europe (excluding Russia) 19% from India and the remaining from other locations.

A Snapshot of the Tech Job Market

Although a minority of organizations reported increasing their technical headcount in 2023, those gains were spread across all types of industries. Employers were most likely to add jobs in the areas of cloud/container technologies, cybersecurity and AI/machine learning. Here are the areas where organizations plan to add technical roles this year:

Among other findings:

  • Government, nonprofit/non-governmental organizations and academic institutions were least likely to report increasing their headcounts, with 45% saying they had added tech jobs.
  • Telecommunications and Internet service provider/web hosting companies were most likely to have added to their tech headcounts, with 71% saying they had done so.
  • The median percentage of tech staff laid off in 2022 was 20%. However, that figure was much higher — 35% — for technology vendors, suppliers and service providers.
  • Senior technical roles appeared most likely to be cut when organizations eliminate jobs, according to the report. Forty-five percent of respondents who said their company is eliminating jobs said senior technical roles are on the chopping block.

The report offered some optimism for late 2023 and next year. Among organizations that plan to add technical roles this year, 46% said they could foresee even more increased hiring later in 2023 and 38% said the same for 2024.

However, many organizations that have already made cuts were more pessimistic, with 56% saying they could foresee more tech staff reductions later this year or in 2024.

Recruitment Challenges

The report shed light on the difficulties in hiring and keeping technologists. Nearly one in three new hires — 29% — leave within six months of being onboarded.

The average time to fill a technical position is 4.3 months, according to the report, which also found that it takes an average of 2.6 months to onboard a new technical employee to the point where their team achieves normal productivity.

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