There are many thousands of jobs you or I have never even heard off. Some of these are in the tech sector and we might know a little more about them because of the recent layoffs.
During my recent return to education I learned a bit more about the jobs outside of my personal sphere of interest. This is mainly because most of my class work in tech jobs with the international companies that base themselves here.
Over the last few weeks, LinkedIn timelines were described as a “bit of bloodbath” as these big multinationals “corrected” their staffing numbers. The cause? The pandemic boost to tech companies led to an over-estimation of the future growth potential of internet services.
My sympathetic messages to classmates were replied to, sadly, with little animosity: “I’ve had better days, thought I was safe but my team got decimated”; “We get paid for a few months but the sad part is I actually enjoyed the work”. On the latter comment, the severance, appears to be pretty generous from some companies. It has been reported that Meta will pay 16 weeks of salary, plus two additional weeks for every year of service, as well as all remaining paid time off. This provides a certain cushion to find new employment.
Twitter seems to be an outlier in terms of how staff were treated. Last week the platform’s new owner, Elon Musk, sent an e-mail to staff (those that were not let go) which I summarise as follows: commit to working “long hours at high intensity”, be “extremely hardcore” with “exceptional” the new baseline performance required. He has also said remote working was coming to an end at the company. Should employees not wish to acquiesce to this new way of working, they could leave with a three-month severance package. I watched the response to this with interest. Some commentators were appalled while others welcomed Musk’s philosophy. That being a job where work-life balance is not an employer priority. It is a route along which many progressed in the past. There was even a certain level of satisfaction among some that those who “had it easy” were now going to have to “live in the real world”. But is this ask achievable in the new work environment.
This week the Irish Farmers Journal carries the 2022 agri jobs survey. The results show that agri employers are highly conscious of employees’ desire to maintain the work-life balance achieved during the pandemic. Sarah McIntosh surmises: “Employers are already under pressure to adapt roles, offer competitive salaries and flexible working hours to attract new qualified talent into positions. Hybrid working is overwhelmingly favoured by employees and is being used as a bargaining tool.”
I was recently invited to speak to the fourth year Ag Science students in UCD about career options. On the night there were two speakers and as people managers, we were different in our outlook, his being more “Musk” than mine. Now, while I would encourage working hard to gain a foothold in an industry, I do wonder how the next generation view that. So I asked the students what they thought about Musk’s e-mail to his staff. The response was muted. Perhaps they didn’t want to admit they don’t want to work 80+ hours a week. Perhaps, they just don’t know what that means yet. Perhaps they never will.
Right now it’s an employee’s market, but even so, what is it they say about the cream?