FLAHERTY: Tech Industry Should Not Ghost Employees

via+Shutterstock

via Shutterstock

College seniors prioritizing job security while perusing job application sites should steer clear of the single industry that’s been dominating the news cycle in the last few days: Tech.

Seated mainly in Silicon Valley, the epicenter of Big Tech in Northern California, the tech industry features companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, PayPal and Intel.

The tech industry has announced some of the largest layoffs in a single month since the pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020. Google laid off 12,000 employees, Microsoft announced 10,000 layoffs and just recently streaming companies such as Spotify and Netflix announced major cuts to their workforce as well.

Given that several of these companies have consistently high stocks in their sector, it’s no surprise this news is shaking all corners of interest from consumers to shareholders. Investors are reconsidering their portfolios and economic nerds are keeping an eye on the next economist op-ed announcing that the next recession looms closer or its symptoms have already arrived. No COVID-19 test needed, just a company blog post from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announcing that they’re cutting a bit under 5% of their workforce to tell the world that the economic downturn has made its impact.

While most eyes are centered on the prominent tech giant Microsoft, consumers should turn their attention to the search engine with the largest number of laid off employees: Google.

Not only is Google in the lead for the worst kind of competition of Biggest Loser in Severance Pay, but the fresh ex-employees of Google have taken to social media platforms, painting an ugly picture of employee treatment. Google’s hiring and firing reputation only worsens when social media users read the beginnings of most of these tweets and LinkedIn posts from recent former employees.

The concept that tenured employees who dedicated over a decade or more of their work life to a company that cut them off through an email on a random Tuesday is gut-wrenching and inexcusable. Although tech industry critics aren’t surprised over the cold handling by companies like Google, that doesn’t mean its actions are permissible because they’re expected.

Google may not lose its product reputation with customers in the face of its layoffs, however, it will continue to lose its reputation with former, current and future employees. In fact, Google’s current crisis may have been hinted at back in March of 2022 when its employee survey revealed that numbers dropped in years previous of employee satisfaction in areas such as pay packages, promotions and management execution of their job functions.

The reasoning behind the layoffs has a clear cause and effect. The pandemic hiring boom plus a looming recession, plus higher costs equal tech companies slashing costs and laying off employees as needs shift.

Tech companies are reacting to their situation as companies in other industries such as Vox Media and Netflix are laying off employees as well. But when you sit down and read about how an employee found out he had been laid off because of an automatic account deactivation, and another going to work after headlines hit and searching to see if their desk mates had been let go, it sends a clear message to potential employees.

You are disposable.

What does this mean for college students looking for potential jobs in Silicon Valley?

Last year, the topic of tech companies capitalizing on employee retainment was already top priority. As jobs in tech increase with product needs and innovation interests, those with the tech skills necessary have a wide variety of choices.

A company is only as good as its employees, or rather, how it treats its employees. If Google continues to treat its employees like this on the potential eve of a full blown recession, it can kiss its hiring reputation good-bye in the competitive tech industry.

This story was written by Nancy Flaherty. She can be reached at [email protected]