The recent news of layoffs, particularly those taking place in California, can make job seekers wary of making a career move. But where are these layoffs taking place, and who is affected by them?
According to California’s WARN database, over 48,684 workers have been laid off in 2022, and an additional 12,179 to date in 2023. Of those that have been laid off this year, many of them work in the tech and product development sectors which are mostly sequestered in the metropolitan regions of the Bay Area (4,300+) and Southern California (4,000).
Let’s take a closer look at the industries and companies that are undergoing layoffs:
Due to the recent restrictions on semiconductor chip and chip-making equipment sales to China, the semiconductor industry is facing an unprecedented sharp decline in revenue projections which has led to mass layoffs. Some companies that have reported employee cuts include:
- Lam Research – A leading manufacturer of wafer etch and deposition equipment, Lam has announced the planned release of 1,300 (7%) of its workers on top of the 700 temporary workers laid off last year. However, CEO Tim Archer said R&D will continue to be a priority.
- Global Foundries – Semiconductor global manufacturer, Global Foundries, announced it will be laying off roughly 800 workers worldwide, mostly on the operations side, but only 50 will be affected in their Santa Clara office.
- Intel – Chip titan, Intel, announced it will be laying 343 workers in their Folsom campuses, as well as 201 workers in Santa Clara. Despite this expected attrition, a spokesperson from Intel said they intend to continue growing their U.S.-based manufacturing operations.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020, great investments were made by private equities and the government toward biotech diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. Now that the virus has become less critical, so has the need to continue funding research and development. This reduction in biotech investment has led to renowned biotech companies to lay off workers:
- Verily Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Alphabet/Google, has decided to reduce staffing by 119 positions at its headquarters in South San Francisco, effective by March 12.
- Cepheid, a global manufacturer of diagnostic equipment announced in January that 1,003 worker terminations will take place in their Newark, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara facilities.
- Lucira Health, a PCR test maker in Emeryville, has laid off 56 employees as of December 2022, which accounted for 25% of its workforce.
Hypergrowth driven by remote work-related demand for virtual products and expansion projects has triggered the Silicon Valley tech giants such as Alphabet (Google’s Parent Company), Meta, Netflix, and Amazon to hire and grow ostentatiously over the past 3 years. As inflation led to less consumer spending, these tech companies have recently reeled back on their investment ventures and restructured back to their core functions. This re-organization has since led to thousands of layoffs, particularly hitting tech workers in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara-San Jose-Mountain View metros).
Roger Lee, the founder of the mass layoff tracking website Layoffs.FYI, said, “Sales is the most common role, accounting for 20% of the laid-off tech workers. Recruiting and HR are the functions (next) most disproportionately affected; it’s becoming quite common for companies to lay off 50% or more of their talent (recruiting) teams.”
Is there hope for engineering job seekers?
Though things may look ominous for those who are looking to make an engineering job change, some economists say these numbers don’t compare to the layoffs that took place during the dot.com boom of the late 1990s or the Great Recession of 2008.
A recent Zip Recruiter study found that 37% out of 2,500 laid workers found a new job within one month, and 79% found a new job within three months.
Principal Executive of Creative Strategies, a market research firm, Tim Bajarin said, “It’s not even close to the dot-com situation. If you are a high-skill engineer and programmer, you will find a new job relatively quickly.”
Design and manufacturing continue to be a priority, even among companies that are trimming their headcounts. As of this week, there are over 3,200 jobs posted on Indeed.com for Mechanical Engineers in California, 7,400 in Electrical Engineering, and over 9,400 for Manufacturing Engineers.
Are you curious to see which companies are still hiring engineers? Visit our Job Board or speak with a SoloPoint Solutions Technical Recruiter today: