job market thoughts

job market thoughts
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash

Most of the people in my professional network are in tech, and many are going through layoffs or searching for better positions right now.

It's clear from anecdotes as well as data that the tech industry is shedding many jobs as firms adjust to higher costs of capital. The share of tech industry jobs located in California has hit a decade low, giving up the market share it gobbled during the ZIRP bubble of 2020-2022.

I don't have a particular crystal ball, but my gut feeling is that trend will persist for some time. We should see further tech industry diversification into other states and countries. Because the cost of capital is so much higher right now, it doesn't make much sense to pay $200-300k to an engineer to work on fluff projects.

However, it may make sense if the pay is closer to $100-$199k. This is what I've seen for mid-level roles at smaller companies. Furthermore, the remote work phenomenon is still alive in much of the US. Yes, many have been called back to the office, but many workers have also made lifestyle adjustments and taken pay cuts to remain where they migrated to during the pandemic.

I think this won't change. I don't think there will be a triumphant return to the office. The overhead for a lot of businesses to have an office in prime cities doesn't make sense. For startups and smaller companies, in-person is critical in order for the business to get traction and survive. For bigger companies who are mostly resting on laurels and cruising on past successes, remote makes sense as a carrot for company men to stick around.

If you're looking for a job right now, keep developing your skills, take a position that is beneath your expectations if you have to, and survive. Technology will remain a growing sector, AI is going to make software engineers more in demand, not less, and much of your difficulties right now are strictly due to the business cycle.