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Tech layoffs bloodbath continues as firms wield the axe

Over 180 tech companies have slashed more than 36,000 staff from their teams in the past six months The Stack can reveal, as a tech layoffs bloodbath continues in the face of a challenging macroeconomic climate.

The figures, compiled from public reports tracked by San Francisco-based entrepreneur Roger Lee, come as cybersecurity firm OneTrust slashed 950 staff or 25% of its workforce from its books on June 9.

The company raised $300 million in a Series C in December 2020, at a $5.1 billion valuation.

“I know this news is surprising, especially as you heard last month that the business is on track with record quarters and increasing customer demand” OneTrust CEO Kabir Barday told shocked staff.

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“However, capital markets sentiment shifted to a more balanced approach between growth and profitability, and at this time, we have decided the best course of action is to reorganize to position OneTrust for continued long-term success” he said, boasting that the company’s customer base had crossed 12,000 in the same post.

OneTrust joins security firm Cybereason in cutting stuff. The figure of 36,122 tech layoffs since January 1 as counted by The Stack from data at Lee’s layoffs.fyi is likely to be a significant underestimate.

Tech layoffs have spanned multiple industry categories from fintech to martech.

As VC investor Bill Gurley put it, as panic began to set in at some companies in April amid inflation fears that saw central banks start to tighten monetary policy: “An entire generation of entrepreneurs and tech investors built their entire perspectives on valuation during the second half of a 13-year amazing bull market run.

“The ‘unlearning’ process could be painful, surprising, & unsettling to many. I anticipate denial.”

Tech layoffs continue amid warnings of “outages, shortages, strikes, war”

Other security firms say are going to use the tech layoffs bloodbath to hire staff that they might previously have had to fight for amid an endless discussed cybersecurity skills shortage. (Outside of the heavily funded tech vendor world huge numbers of cybersecurity roles continue to open up: US employers alone advertised 714,548 cybersecurity-related jobs in the 12 months to April 2022; 40% of them in the first four months of this year.)

Despite the cuts at many panicked firms, the global cybersecurity market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.5% a year, reaching almost $375 billion a year by 2028, according to Vantage Market Research.

Many CISOs and security teams meanwhile may look at how companies have treated staff in the tough times: long-term partnerships are built on trust in long-term relationships — whether that is with partners or with staff and as one CISO put it in reaction OneTrust and Cybereason’s recent layoffs “We should make a public list of these vendors. I’d like to remember with whom I will not be doing business in the future.”

While some market watchers remain deeply bearish (“expect outages, shortages, strikes, war” said hedge fund manager Crispin Odey to investors last month) others think tech sector hype around a deep recession is premature. JP Morgan analysts June 7 were among those taking a more positive view of the outlook.

They said: “Fears that the Fed is headed toward a restrictive monetary policy are premature.Inflation is being driven by restrictions in the supply of vital goods. Higher rates will do little to help increase the supply of goods, which should return to normal later this year… If price pressures subside over the next year as expected, the Fed is likely to hold rates near their natural equilibrium of 2-3%.”

They added: “Policymakers’ forecasts do not call for rates to exceed 3% in the coming years. Neutral interest rates could accompany a period of sustainable growth, stable prices and low unemployment.”

Whether you take that more balanced view or are firmly in the bearish camp, there is no shortage of technology companies planning with a longer horizon in mind and recruiting in line with the long view.

Pick a tech company (startup or mature) at random meanwhile and check their “hiring/careers” page — there remains a great deal of exciting open roles out there across the stack, many of them remote.

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Ed Targett

Ed Targett is the founder of The Stack. He previously served as editor of Tech Monitor, Computer Business Review, and Roubini Global Economics. He has 15 years of experience in newsrooms and consultancies and an unrivalled network. His interests span technology, foreign policy, and sustainability. You can reach him on [email protected]

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