A majority of technologists are worried about layoffs due to COVID-19, according to survey data from Blind.
Bind, which conducts anonymous surveys of technologists, found that 57.1 percent of surveyed technologists feared layoffs due to COVID-19. Some 37.5 percent of Facebook staffers said they feared being cut, along with 46.3 percent of Amazon professionals—despite Facebook clearly needing all the help it can get to keep its systems running under a heavy crush of demand, and Amazon announcing that it would hire 100,000 more employees to handle increased workloads (although those are mostly fulfillment-center and warehouse workers, Amazon will also need technologists to keep the website running through atypical ebbs and spikes).
Some 37.4 percent of Apple professionals indicated that they feared layoffs. Although Apple is an enormous company that generates tons of revenue in normal times, the shutdown of the Chinese factories that produce its products—along with its stores around the world temporarily closing down—may end up having a noticeable effect on its bottom line.
Faced with the prospect of unemployment, some 24.9 percent of surveyed technologists are looking for new ways to supplement their income. We’re still in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, so it remains to be seen whether companies continue to offer the same level of work for freelancers as they did before; despite the statewide lockdowns over the pandemic, websites must still be built, IT infrastructure maintained, and code written.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is how long this crisis will last. Some 40.2 percent of those surveyed think it could take anywhere from six to 12 months for life to return to “normal” (or whatever passes for that), while only 3 percent think it will take 1-3 months. Around 13.8 percent are even more pessimistic, thinking that things will take more than a year to revert to relative normalcy.
The technology industry has responded in a variety of ways to COVID-19. Some companies are raising money and donating medical supplies; investors and entrepreneurs are focused on startups that could potentially produce a vaccine or antiviral drug capable of mitigating the virus’s effects; and there’s also an open research dataset and an interactive infection map.
For technologists who find themselves working from home, now’s a good time to polish up your video-conferencing skills. And if you’re feeling nervous about your job security, well… there’s never a bad time to give your résumé a once-over.