The news lately has been filled with tech companies announcing staff layoffs. Meta reported that it has cut 11,000 jobs, Twitter let go of 3,700 people (around half its workforce), and Shopify laid off 1,000 positions. Other companies making difficult decisions about employment include Netflix, Tesla, Stripe, Lyft, and Microsoft.
But why are these tech layoffs taking place in 2022 and how can employees protect themselves moving forward?
Let’s explore the skills you can develop to future proof your career.
What are the reasons behind the tech layoffs in 2022?
The unfolding tech layoffs in 2022 is a result of global economic uncertainty. Factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have contributed to rising costs of living, meaning that people and businesses are spending less.
In particular, digital advertisers have reduced spending, which is a big part of tech companies’ income. Similarly, more consumers are canceling their paid subscription plans with tech platforms. Fewer advertising and user dollars have forced tech companies to make layoffs, especially when tech worker salaries are at a record high.
Naturally, the situation makes tech workers feel anxious about their job security – even more so when the decision to lay off employees is not always based on individuals’ performance.
Future proofing your career
While staff may not be able to control higher-level decisions to conduct layoffs, they can take steps to develop certain skills now and future proof their careers.
These skills give tech workers a competitive advantage in the job market, are valuable for personal development, and can open the doors to leadership positions.
1. English speaking skills
English is the language of business around the world, and having a good level of English – especially speaking and communication skills – automatically boosts your profile.
No matter whether you are a non-native speaker of English or a native English speaker, learning how to speak more clearly and effectively, can certainly help you in your career. There’s a huge advantage for people who speak confidently and can be understood easily, especially during this trying time.
Although some job listings won’t specifically request English proficiency, workers who can confidently speak and write in English are more likely to be able to:
- Contribute to the team
- Stay updated with tech news and trends
- Understand different tooling
- …And build international relationships.
Knowing English also gives you more opportunities to work remotely for companies in the United States and throughout Europe, where the majority of successful tech companies are located. Not to mention, tech workers with a good command of English can negotiate up to 35% more in salary than workers who don’t speak another language.
English Language Speech Assistant (ELSA) is a great app to perfect your English pronunciation. The unique voice recognition technology can recognize speech patterns and offers personalized, daily English practice.
Meanwhile, Speech Analyzer is an AI-powered English fluency coach that provides you with immediate feedback, so you can advance your English speaking capabilities faster and with improved accuracy. You can even rehearse what you’ll say in your next job interview!
For more tips read our blog: 6 Steps to nail your job interview in English.
2. Presentation skills
Many tech workers assume that because their job involves sitting in front of a screen, they don’t need to improve their presentation skills. This simply isn’t true. Being able to present – whether at a conference, hosting weekly sprint planning sessions, or introducing an idea to colleagues – is an essential part of tech employment.
Presentation skills encompass being an effective communicator, knowing how to format information, and being organized and empathetic. When presenting, you have to engage audiences and convert what can often be repetitive, unexciting data into an actionable plan or a compelling story. In the world of tech, where innovation is constantly taking place, workers that can successfully present new narratives, features, and ways of thinking are extremely desirable.
Using ELSA, you can learn to express yourself with greater confidence when speaking English, and finesse your spontaneous speech – shaping stronger, more fluent presentations.
3. Critical thinking
At a time when tech companies want to experiment but also stay cautious, critical thinking is a must among workers when future proofing your career.
You have to make significant decisions every day in your role, but moreover, you need to make objective evaluations to produce the best outcome. This type of critical thinking involves looking at data and predicting what consequences could arise from changes. It’s an impressive trait to have because it means that you can make logical, autonomous decisions that are more likely to benefit tech companies’ bottom line. Plus, critical thinking means you don’t need close supervision, so companies can allocate managers to other priority areas.
Critical thinking also shows that you’re inherently curious. You know how to ask open-ended and reflective questions, and you know how to explore novel ideas without posing risks to the team or company. And if you’re able to pose such questions in English, that’s another bonus – even more so if you’ve used ELSA to check your grammar and vocabulary.
Creativity is a hugely underrated skill in tech. Yes, you need to be practical and technical in the industry, but you also need an open mind and fearlessness to develop solutions that disrupt the norm. Being creative can support more accessible tech that serves more diverse users too.
Creativity has to be nurtured. Everyone has the potential to be creative, however, it’s like any form of exercise – you need to practice it. For example, you could start a new artistic hobby or launch a side project. Alternatively, you could flex your creativity via ELSA’s fun lessons that cover 44 English language sounds and a spectrum of conversation topics.
5. Project management
Tech jobs demand a lot of prioritization. You’ll typically be working on a number of projects at one time, and need to anticipate resources in advance, know how to meet deadlines, and be able to monitor progress toward them. As a skill, project management means taking ownership of tasks and ensuring that deliverables are met as expected, regardless of the context (for instance, shipping a new tech feature during a recession).
A good way to evolve your project management skills is by learning a new language. The ELSA platform tracks your progress, so you can set yourself goals and maintain your learning momentum without affecting any other projects that you’re working on.
You may be the most talented tech worker or have the most revolutionary concept, but if you can’t convey it, companies will never know. Storytelling allows you to capture people’s attention with what you’re saying, and leave them more informed or memorable. Storytelling is how people connect to one another and processes, and in tech, it’s how abstract ideas are brought to life.
Having a vast selection of vocabulary and grasp of grammar is important to tell a story. If you want to enhance your storytelling skills in English as a second language, ELSA Pro has over 3,000 lessons available to help you establish style and syntax.
Looking for more tips to improve your English speaking skills? Read our blog exploring the American Accent.
Invest in yourself and a bright future
The tech layoffs in 2022 will undoubtedly impact tech recruitment. Companies will now search for candidates that can demonstrate soft skills, rather than people who are only technically-focused.
By investing in English language skills, presentation skills, critical thinking, creativity, project management, and storytelling, you’ll not only future proof your career, you’ll accelerate it.