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Technology Hiring Trends: Government vs. Big Tech


Woman at a computer, two men on computers behind her, public sector

Following the mass layoffs of 2023, the tech industry’s employment landscape continues to be a significant topic in the beginning of 2024. You may find yourself asking questions like: “Will the tech layoffs continue?”, “Will tech hiring rebound in 2024?” “Where are laid off tech workers finding new jobs?” 


While some layoffs are still continuing in Big Tech, tech and start-up hiring is expected to improve by 5-8% in the first half of 2024, signaling a positive trend in the job market. Even so, several laid off tech workers found new roles in other industries, uncertain if continuing to pursue another job at a technology company will provide security. In fact, public sector roles have become increasingly popular in the wake of all of the layoffs occurring in the tech industry. Let’s examine what hiring looks like in government compared to Big Tech as we continue to push into 2024.



State of Hiring in Big Tech

Companies like Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft were only a few of those that contributed to the mass tech layoffs of 2023. A combination of overhiring during the pandemic and shifting economic demands caused these tech giants to find themselves sending thousands of workers home. Now, as hiring is returning to normal levels and profits are increasing for these companies, we wonder: what is continuing to cause additional layoffs?


  • Focus on AI

After programs like ChatGPT started to increase in popularity, tech giants like Meta shifted their focus to Artificial Intelligence. Instead of spending what it would cost to continue to hire thousands of new employees every quarter, Big Tech companies are using that money to fund the building of AI technologies that they believe could be worth trillions of dollars one day. CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, stated that the company had to lay off workers to invest in long-term visions around AI. Some of the recently laid off workers were Meta’s program managers, who oversaw different projects and were responsible for keeping teams on schedule.


Despite laying off more employees, more and more of these tech companies are trying to quickly hire engineers to build AI systems; last year, there were 180,000 job postings in the U.S. related to AI, including roles in software development, semiconductor engineering and cloud computing.



Government Tech Roles Increase in Popularity

As many people including the laid off tech workers reexamine the role of Big Tech companies in society, jobs in the public sector are becoming more popular. Due to this, state and local governments are now learning how to hire better for technical roles.


  • Government Agencies Attract Workers

Over the past year, the US Department of Veterans Affairs hired 1,068 people into tech jobs, meeting its hiring goal; the agency adjusted pay to reduce the gap between government and private sector roles, resulting in an average salary increase of $18,000. In addition, instead of waiting for workers to visit their hiring website, they went to LinkedIn Live events and conferences to find them. 


Back in October, the Tech Talent Project, a nonprofit that helps the US government recruit for tech roles, held a Tech to Gov career event for which more than 3,000 people registered. In early 2023, the Office of Personnel Management, the human resources arm of the federal government, was working to attract thousands of laid-off tech workers into public sector roles.



Now, as we take a look at these findings for the state of hiring in Big Tech as well as the public sector, we cannot help but wonder - will tech companies start to lose workers to other industries? Many workers in the tech industry may have already begun to think that these companies indeed find them to be replaceable and begin looking to government roles for perks, security, and a chance to contribute to society in a new and different way. 


Government tech roles look to be continuing to grow in popularity as Big Tech starts to focus more on advancing technologies. Check out some of our recent blogs to learn more of our insights into tech and beyond.





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