Tech Layoffs, Hiring Freezes, & Optimism: 2022 Employer Survey Data

Tech Layoffs, Hiring Freezes, & Optimism: 2022 Employer Survey Data

The tech hiring climate is rife with challenges, competition, and contradictions

While researching our 2022 State of Tech Salaries report, two contradictory narratives appeared. On one hand, stories about layoffs and hiring freezes dominated headlines. People expressed concerns about inflation and a looming recession. On the other, the US economy had added 528,000 jobs, more than double Wall Street’s forecast. Unemployment hit a 50-year low. Strong hiring activity continued on the Hired platform.  

Despite trends such as “quiet quitting” (and counterpart, “quiet firing”), employers still need to find and keep top tech talent. To learn more, Hired surveyed 200 employers across North America, the UK, and Ireland to gather their sentiments on the job market. Several issues emerged, providing deeper insights into tech hiring going forward. In this eBook, we’ll use this data to supplement the 2022 State of Tech Salaries report findings.* 

But first, what is “quiet quitting?”

A term coined this year to describe the practice of reducing the amount of effort an employee dedicates to their job, “quiet quitting” essentially means only putting in the minimum effort to meet the job’s requirements, and not going above and beyond.

What is “quiet firing?”

On the other hand, “quiet firing” refers to an employer creating an uncomfortable working environment to encourage an employee to leave at their own will, rather than formally letting them go.

Learn more about what candidates are saying and what hiring data shows during a volatile economy when you download our 2022 State of Tech Salaries report.

*The State of Tech Salaries report is based on proprietary platform data and survey results from more than 2,000 tech professionals. For more details, see the Methodology section of the report.

Who Has the Upper Hand, Employers or Jobseekers? 

In the last few months, a slew of organizations slowed hiring ahead of a broader economic downturn and rising inflation. Some companies significantly reduced their workforce or rescinded offers. We found most employer respondents (78%) believe companies hired too quickly post-lockdown. 

When asked how to cut costs and avoid layoffs instead:

  • 65% of employers agreed on a reduction of leadership salaries.
  • Less than 18% recommended salary reductions across the board instead, while
  • 16% suggested layoffs as the initial step.

So, in a more unstable economy, will a more cautious hiring climate change perceptions of the upper hand in hiring? Perhaps surprisingly, 72% of employers believe candidates still have the upper hand in the hiring process. However, almost 40% of respondents believe this will change in the next 6 months. 

Will Hiring Slowdowns or Layoffs Impact DEI?

It’s possible downsizing will rollback diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. After George Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter protests many organizations pledged to improve DEI in the workplace. This focus helped create robust pipelines of candidates, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, socioeconomic status, and other diverse characteristics.

In addition, post-lockdown competition inspired companies to seek more remote candidates. This broke the mold of the traditional candidate profile for many. Expanding into new markets brought more diversity of thought, experience, and skills.

Competition combined with tech workers moving from top tech hubs to new markets, remote salaries outpaced local ones by $3k.

As the hiring climate shifts, employers are split on the DEI impact. While 44% of employers are not worried about a rollback of DEI efforts, almost 43% are worried but haven’t seen any rollbacks yet. Unfortunately, 13% have already seen commitments to DEI diminish in the last 6 months.

At Hired, we’re committed to equity in the hiring process, and strongly believe in strength through inclusion.

We support this in several ways:

  • Features for employers on our platform make it easy to surface more diverse candidates, and use data to alert them of bias.
  • We provide tools, such as our salary calculator, powered by real-time platform data.
  • Partners to connect employers with diverse candidates and drive DEI initiatives.
  • Event opportunities to source diverse candidates and strengthen brand awareness.
  • Solutions like Hired Assessments to zero in on candidates with verified skills, and
  • Hired Technical Sourcer, short or long-term help attracting, screening, and managing communication with candidates.

Need to make more progress on DEI goals? Here are 10 Things You Can Do…

Flexibility is the Norm – Even for Employers

Virtually all employers surveyed offer some form of flexible work. The majority (74%) give employees the option to work remotely all of the time, while 25% of employers operate on a hybrid work model (a blend of some days in the office, some remote work). In the future, more than half (almost 54%) of employers want to be fully remote, while 45% prefer a hybrid approach. 

As the acceleration to a hybrid or remote workplace has led to one of the most dramatic work shifts in the last decade, opinions still vary on its ramifications on salaries. Interestingly, when respondents were given the statement, “Pay should be determined by where candidates live,” 37% strongly agree or agree with the statement, while 29% disagreed and 18.5% strongly disagreed, highlighting the likelihood for employers to base compensation on the cost of living in the employees’ local market. This is in contrast to a majority of employees who, in Hired’s 2022 State of Tech Salaries report, were found to strongly believe in a pay-by-role approach, where pay is determined by candidate’s job and position. 

Borders and Benefits – Adapting in the Current Hiring Climate

Flexible and remote work has already changed how employers hire, with more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents seeing remote and hybrid work boost their talent pipelines in the past year. In the US, 64% of employers are willing to look beyond state borders for talent, with 51% noting that their company is willing to look beyond national borders – and that they’ve already taken action to hire globally. This trend is likely to continue, with 14% of respondents stating that their company is willing to look internationally to hire, but they simply have not yet commenced this process.

Additionally, flexible work is altering the face of employee benefits. The top five benefits that companies value and offer to their workforces are:

  1. Flexible working (96%)
  2. Paid time off (95%)
  3. Physical health, dental, and vision insurance/benefits (94%)
  4. Paid parental leave (83%)
  5. Retirement plan benefits (77%). 

These top employer benefits are almost exactly the same as the top benefits ranked by engineers surveyed on Hired’s platform: flexible work schedules, paid time off, physical health/dental/vision insurance, retirement plan benefits, and performance-based benefits, respectively. 

In the US, a fast-emerging topic is whether benefits will change as a consequence of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, curtailing women’s healthcare across the country. While 83.9% of employers offer some form of paid parental leave, additional benefits for potential or current parents – such as fertility coverage/reproductive care benefits or childcare services – a mere 29% of employers surveyed offer these benefits. Most organizations (65%) have not changed their company policy on family planning or fertility benefits, however almost 21% have altered their policies, and another 13% are considering changes. 

The current job market and volatile economy can – and will – add extra complexity to hiring and retention strategies for any business. However, what’s clear from the employers we’ve surveyed is the need to be nimble and adaptable to meet evolving expectations on flexible work, remote work, and benefits. In times of uncertainty, we recommend shifting from hyper-growth to more efficient growth approaches, staying the course on DEI initiatives, and continuing to nurture the employer brand. 

Methodology for this data: Hired surveyed more than 200 employers in North America, the United Kingdom, and Ireland on the Hired platform in August 2022. Spanning a range of company sizes and industries, the survey aimed to better understand the current state of tech hiring. It also studied how it has affected their current and future sentiments and plans on salaries, flexible work, and benefits. 

Findings from this employer survey are in addition to our 2022 State of Tech Salaries report, which is based on proprietary data from real interview requests (IVRs) and IVR-communicated salaries on our platform, and survey results from more than 2,000 tech professionals. For further insights into the State of Tech Salaries, download the full report.