Much of the chaos and dust kicked up by the Covid-19 Pandemic is still shifting before settling. The once-consistent work environment is now a spectrum from all-office to all-remote across companies, impacting corporate culture and leaving entire downtown cores in a state of a flux.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In this new market, tech talent is considered to be in the driver’s seat but many still face fear of layoffs, the numbers of which spiked last year throughout Canada’s tech sector and beyond due to a post-Pandemic global downturn.
In 2022, a total of 150,000 tech workers were laid off globally across more than 900 companies, according to data from aggregator Layoffs.fyi.
In 2023, much of this turbulence is continuing. In January alone, several major companies have announced layoffs, from retail titan Hudson’s Bay to news publisher Postmedia. Among tech, San Francisco giant Salesforce and behemoth Alphabet have not been immune to cuts.
“It’s disappointing to see bets that were previously made not fully paying off, and unfortunately, human capital pays the cost,” technology analyst Carmi Levy told CTV News.
According to Levy, what we’re seeing now “is not a reckoning in the tech industry as much as it is a readjustment, or right-sizing to accommodate sort of that post-pandemic reality. It’s tech simply adjusting itself for the realities of this new economic landscape as the economy tightens a little bit.”
Many, such as Shopify head Tobi Lütke, agree. When his Ottawa commerce company announced cuts to the tune of 1,000 employees, Lütke recognized the error.
“What we see now is the mix reverting to roughly where pre-Covid data would have suggested it should be at this point,” the CEO wrote in July.
Others have described “headwinds” hailing from a downshifted global market, compromised supply chains, and more. However, as we push further out of the pandemic era, these headwinds are not expected to be permanent or lethal, at least locally.
Tech specifically is expected to be more resilient than other sectors moving forward. For example, CBRE believes the tech sector may continue to outperform other sectors regardless of market challenges.
Several companies of different sizes and sectors continue to expand their footprint within Canada, suggesting confidence in the country’s stability.
“The good news here is that Canada’s tech industry as a whole, is incredibly robust,” the Ontario-based Levy said.
As humanity increasingly immerses itself deeper into a technology-based society, and new advances continue on the regular, we can expect growth in the sector.
“Tech is a constantly evolving industry,” affirms Derek Darch, who serves as senior director of employer engagement for NPower Canada, which provide participants with digital skills training.
According to Darch, innovations will develop more sophisticated technology and “we may see that certain technological jobs may no longer be relevant”—it has certainly happened before.
It is all part of a process. Obsolete positions “will be replaced by roles that support the technologies of the future,” he points out.
And how could there not always be technologies of the future? It is in our very DNA to pursue such endeavours.
“We are constantly exploring the ways that tech can integrate, innovate, and improve life,” Darch says.
And it is this exploration which has created organizations and industries that didn’t exist a few years ago, he notes—a beautiful cycle of the tech sector we anticipate to keep on spinning.