Tech layoffs teach us a lesson about the ‘war for talent’

One should not get too carried away with self-regarding language. Low-paid workers in the US are getting pay rises, but no one is calling that a ‘war for talent’, they are calling it a ‘labour shortage’.

Meta is one of several tech companies that have implemented mass lay-offs in recent weeks. PHOTO: AFP

Once upon a time, young graduates thought they had a choice to make: they could become rich but miserable in an investment bank or law firm, or they could live without a huge salary but do something more fun. Then the big technology companies came along. Suddenly, it was possible for someone with a certain set of skills to have fun and get rich at the same time.

The tech firms seemed to represent a less hierarchical world of work where everyone wore jeans and T-shirts and merit was what mattered most. The salaries were high and the stock options plentiful. If you were lucky, your employer would also take care of the boring parts of life, doing your laundry for you, cooking your meals and taking you home at night. This year, tech companies accounted for five of the top 10 places to work in the United States based on employee reviews on Glassdoor.

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