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Tech-wide layoffs and the volatile demand for cloud talent availability

By Pluralsight Content Team    |    March 31, 2023

At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, many tech companies were quick to hire cloud-based talent. In an uncertain time when many companies were going remote, cloud solutions allowed these businesses to provide enhanced services for their customers, reduce expenses, and grow exponentially. In turn, smaller organizations had trouble finding cloud talent throughout 2020 and 2021, and positions were left unfilled, causing productivity and innovation to suffer.

Fast forward to more recently, when we’re witnessing massive tech layoffs, leaving many skilled workers out of a job. Those positions have now become redundant either because demand has dropped or those roles are now automated, making them obsolete. Large companies like Meta have announced that they’re cutting thousands of jobs in order to brace themselves for what economic impact may lie ahead.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, announced that roughly 10,000 employees will lose their jobs by May 2023 and he plans to close around 5,000 open positions. The layoffs don’t just end there, Disney, Zoom, eBay, and more are also laying off hundreds to thousands of employees. 

This opened an otherwise closed door for the public sector and smaller organizations to seek out qualified cloud talent again.

An expanding pool of cloud talent

Migrating to the cloud and adopting other tech principles has had a significant impact on companies outside of the tech industry. For example, one utility company experienced a 40% surge in contract volumes and managed to launch a new digital customer-service channel on the cloud six times faster than originally planned because technology leaders knew how to spot and remove key cloud delivery hurdles.

John Deere has used advanced automation to help minimize the grains lost during harvest. Levi Strauss underwent a digital transformation to boost and improve process times and innovation. And there are many more companies who are migrating to cloud, digital, and other technologies to improve the way they do business.

The most challenging barrier for non-tech organizations undergoing cloud migration is talent. Shortages have continued to climb, resulting in companies falling behind in adopting emerging technologies, like the cloud. 

“The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans has exacerbated IT talent scarcity, especially for sourcing skills that enable cloud and edge, automation and continuous delivery,” said Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner.

IT executives see that the lack of talent availability has been the most significant barrier to the adoption of 64% of emerging technologies, like the cloud. This number is up from 4% in 2020. More than cost or security risk, the talent shortage has been the most significant challenge. Finding qualified people, training them, and migrating your business to the cloud is no easy task, but it’s becoming more and more necessary for industries to move forward. 

New opportunities are on the horizon. With the hundreds of thousands of layoffs happening, the talent pool is opening up like never before.

How to hire and retain cloud talent

The time is now to start investing in the cloud and the right talent to help your organization make and maintain a successful cloud migration. Below are a few ways to help prepare, hire, and retain the cloud talent you need.

Explore and expand your talent pools

Hire a variety of workers (remote, hybrid, and in-office). Remote hiring opens up the talent pool to knowledge workers all over the world. In addition, consider hiring from different backgrounds. For example, a trade school or traditional university is a great place to look because while they may not have 10+ years of experience, they have the theoretical perspective and other complementary skills. Of IT leaders surveyed by Robert Half, 89% said they are willing to hire candidates from technical training programs, such as AWS apprenticeships, as well as those with traditional computer science degrees.

Create a competitive salary strategy

Tech companies are known for their higher-paying salaries, fun perks, and impressive benefits. Perks include flexible working hours, mentorship programs, work-from-home stipends, catered lunches, and so on. Make sure that your hiring packages are enticing to new hires. 

“We offer numerous perks outside of our traditional health, welfare, and retirement benefits, including weekly meal allowance, employee discount program, weekly virtual workout classes, and a floating holiday that can be used for a variety of reasons including volunteering or for employees to recharge their physical, mental, and emotional health.” —Grubhub Director of Benefits and HRIS, Jen Banczak

Upskill your workers

While looking for new talent, upskill those already at the company. Upskilling current talent can be more cost-effective and can help you evaluate the roles you really need to fill. Engineers need several important skills such as coding, design patterns, risk management, and more. Wondering how to upskill talent? Check out Pluralsight‘s cloud computing pathways to give workers access to expert-led courses on cloud and cloud computing. Create a successful cloud strategy and give your team the proper skills to tackle modern cloud roles. Dive deep into skills coverage in Microsoft, Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and more.

Strength in developers

Focus your hiring efforts on finding more developers. They’re a vital part of the business that works to solve technical issues and propel innovation. By hiring and empowering your developers to work with autonomy, creativity, and resources, they will, in turn, be better equipped to find better solutions to your business needs.

What this means for you

Since the inception of the cloud, there has always been a lack of talent availability for cloud knowledge workers, slowing innovation and cloud migration for many industries. Over-ambitious hiring during the pandemic led to many cloud-based roles becoming redundant, or obsolete due to shifts in demand and automation. 

Recently, many large tech companies have been making the news by announcing their layoffs by the hundreds and thousands, leaving skilled cloud workers out of a job. It’s not all bad news though. The growing cloud-talent pool means that the industries previously left behind can now be brought up to speed by finding the right people to help with cloud migration and maintenance.

About the author

The Pluralsight Content Team delivers the latest industry insights, technical knowledge, and business advice. As tech enthusiasts, we live and breathe the industry and are passionate about sharing our expertise. From programming and cloud computing to cybersecurity and AI, we cover a wide range of topics to keep you up to date and ahead of the curve.