Tech Layoffs: Blip or Challenge? Transition or Upskill to Stay Relevant

Are the tech layoffs in the United States a blip or a serious challenge to be overcome by upskilling for a vastly changing world? From the aftermath of last year’s tech industry reckoning to 2023, about 224,503 from the vast network of startups and tech giants have reportedly gotten the pink slip or in current parlance, the dreaded morning-after email.

The tally comes from, which gathers all the cumulative layoffs for the current year. This figure already surpasses the total count of industry layoffs that occurred throughout the entirety of 2022, as reported by the tracking data. 

But the layoffs may slow down a bit. Overall, demand for workers in tech occupations remains high, according to recent data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows openings in the information sector, which includes some tech firms, broadly trending up again after generally trending downward in late 2022. Still, it has not been the same as pre-pandemic levels. 

The range of layoffs has been staggering, but it seems to be slowing down. The tech industry’s unemployment rate is lower at 2.7% compared to 3.7% for the national average. And things may just change for the better as BLS still projects 26% growth in software development jobs up to 2031 — if the data is to be believed, considering AI’s unexpected rise and projections of displacement of workers in many years to come.

Despite all the gloom further induced by the entrance of AI, lots of software engineers are sticking to their profession — it’s harder for them to find any other job that can match or exceed the pay they’re getting. Many of them are also sticking it out because of the time and effort they have already invested in specializing and training on top of the experience they have gained. Some have even decided to set up their own companies to capitalize on the AI boom.

Nurses are not switching it up either. It took them a long time to gain the specialized training, experience, and/or licensing requirements, so why give up now? Of course, there are some who were burned out during the pandemic. Since then, though, things have quieted down. Surprisingly, some are adding tech skills to add a feather to their healthcare cap. 

Job seekers eager to check out tech roles seem to be brushing aside the decline in postings, recent attrition, and concerns about the future of AI in the sector. Those who would still like to pursue tech jobs other than software engineering have the following options:

Tech Manufacturing:

  • Assembly technician – Assembles, tests, and troubleshoots electronics components and hardware products.
  • Manufacturing engineer – Oversees technology manufacturing processes to improve quality and efficiency.

IT Services:

  • IT support specialist – Provides technical help, troubleshooting and system maintenance to computer users.
  • Network technician – Installs, configures, tests, and maintains an organization’s network infrastructure.

Cloud Infrastructure:

  • Cloud architect – Designs and manages an organization’s cloud computing strategy and systems.
  • Cloud security engineer – Implements security controls, policies, and procedures for cloud platforms and applications.

Data Processing/Hosting:

  • Data engineer – Develops pipelines and systems for collecting, storing, and analyzing data at scale.
  • Database administrator – Installs, configures, secures, troubleshoots, and optimizes database systems.

These roles involve hands-on technical work around key infrastructure to support tech products and services. Practical skills are in high demand as adoption of cloud, data, hardware products grows.

As for those who are in some non-tech professions who got laid off. It’s time to upskill or transition to incorporate more technical skills as technology evolves. Here are some of the skills you can add to your skill set:

  • Marketing – Digital marketing, data analytics, social media, SEO/SEM
  • Accounting – Automation, data analysis, information systems
  • Logistics – Inventory management systems, route optimization algorithms
  • Healthcare – Electronic health records, telemedicine, wearables
  • Education – Online platforms, edtech tools, digital literacy
  • Finance – Fintech, blockchain, algorithmic trading, cybersecurity
  • Retail – Ecommerce, digital payments, online customer experiences
  • Legal – eDiscovery, contract management systems, legal research technology
  • Insurance – Usage-based platforms, claim automation, data security
  • Media – Digital content creation, social media, metadata/SEO, analytics
  • Real Estate – Smart home technology, virtual tours, digital transaction systems
  • Government – Digital transformation, cloud adoption, citizen services portals

Almost every field now relies on supporting technologies. Continual learning helps workers adapt as innovations emerge in their industry. Technical upskilling expands competencies.

Global mobility professionals can also think of expanding their skills by learning the following:

  • HR information systems – Learn platforms like SAP SuccessFactors, Workday for managing employee records, assignments, compensation etc.
  • Data analysis – Gain proficiency in Excel, Power BI to gather insights from mobility metrics.
  • Process automation – Use tools like UiPath to automate repetitive tasks like assignment letter generation.
  • Visualization – Master Tableau, Power BI to create compelling data visualizations on the global workforce.
  • Programming – Learn Python or R to pull custom mobility reports from HR systems.
  • Cloud applications – Utilize SaaS tools for mobility like MoveOne, Equus Software.
  • Machine learning – Apply ML to optimize international assignment decisions and talent allocation.
  • Mobile security – Implement tools like mobile device management for data security.
  • Digital collaboration – Adopt platforms like Slack, Miro for smooth remote teamwork across borders.
  • Design skills – Create infographics, presentation decks using Canva, Adobe Creative Cloud etc.

Targeting skills that streamline processes, enhance data insights, and facilitate seamless global teamwork can amplify mobility professionals’ impact and value. (Dennis Clemente)