COVID-19: Who’s Hiring, Laying Off, and Furloughing

If you’re in the market for a new job, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Companies that were hiring aggressively a month ago have frozen their interviewing and onboarding processes; other firms are actively laying off workers. In this new environment, things seem to change by the day, and it’s very confusing. 

Over at, there’s a crowdsourced (and rapidly growing) sheet of companies that are hiring, firing, and freezing new hires in response to COVID-19. A breakdown of the list (which features 3,489 companies across all industries, as of this writing) shows 48 percent of consumer tech companies have instituted some kind of hiring freeze or layoff program. Among business-software firms, it’s 45 percent; and within IT, it’s 44 percent.

Productivity-software firms have been doing comparatively well, with the crowd reporting 38 percent of firms either freezing hires or laying off employees. In education software, things are slightly better—37 percent freezes or layoffs. Across all software and tech categories, it seems that hiring freezes generally outpace firings. 

Over at HackerNews, there’s also an extensive layoff thread that’s well worth reading through, although many of the contributing technologists aren’t calling out their companies by name. Nonetheless, it’s worth your click for the street-level view of how many technologists are handling this crisis.

Of course, technologists are employed across all industries, and some have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis harder than others—retail and entertainment, for example, are rolling through some dark days. Disney just announced, for instance, that it would furlough employees across all U.S. divisions starting April 19; in theory, that might include some of the software engineers who keep the company’s apps and services running

The list also features some contradictory data; for example, it lists Google as both hiring and undergoing a freeze. Presumably, different employees from different positions are reporting different things. 

Indeed, as COVID-19 forces changes throughout the world economy, some technologists are finding they’re in just as much demand as before the crisis began. Sysadmins and others who manage companies’ technology stacks must ensure that newly dispersed networks of employees continue to work smoothly; developers who handle e-commerce portals have to keep things running despite a surge of new delivery orders. Some top positions include application developers, systems engineers, and systems analysts.

Recent survey data from Blind suggested that 57.1 percent of surveyed technologists feared layoffs due to COVID-19. A few weeks into this crisis, 24.9 percent of surveyed technologists are looking for new ways to supplement their income, and 40.2 percent believe it could take anywhere from six to 12 months for life to return to “normal.” For many technologists, though, their skills are more necessary than ever in this moment. 

For more COVID-19 content, check out the COVID-19 Jobs Resource Center.

9 Responses to “COVID-19: Who’s Hiring, Laying Off, and Furloughing”

  1. Bob T.

    Meanwhile, companies have built and deployed all their stockpile of laptops and sent desktop users home to work. The demand for remote laptop support has gone through the roof. New procurement demands to manufacturers are in the millions.

  2. Companies are doing completely WRONG in this difficult time. Instead of hiring more employees for REMOTE work in technology sector, companies are performing hiring freeze.
    This will have completely negative impact on economy and increase the jobless rate. Market has been doing well for last few days and companies has NO REASON to stop hiring for remote positions due to COVID-19 in technology sector. It is shameful…

  3. Walter E.

    It is all a joke. I remember when telecommuting first came into play. Wow! We can do that! Then, suddenly, companies started to disallow it because they did not trust contractors and their full-time employees for the reason they wanted to micro-manage and watch people. So finding a job where you can work remotely became totally impossible up to today. But in business, if you are friends with the quote–Boss then you would be able to because of politics. Now with the coronavirus, they have no choice but to let their employees work remotely and i know they hate it. The company does not have the control they once had and they cant micro-manage and play games in the office like they enjoy doing. Our society is a silent one when it comes down to ethics, integrity, and honesty. All about our insecurities and money. I feel bad for all of the families that have suffered because of the losses and it is a shame we do not hear about that. All about our Economy!!!!!

    • Very, very well-said. COVID 19 is proving to micro managers that there is absolutely no need to stand over adults and “watch” them work and you do little more than attend meetings about meeting. C19 has forced leadership to allow workers to create a better balance between work and home and those of us whom have been able to WFH couldn’t be happier (in most cases). If you need to micromanage your employees, the bigger problem is your screening process, not the employees. Perhaps the refusal to allow people to WFH has helped increase the spread of ALL kinds of illness… Time to wake up, Corporate America.

    • Elizabeth

      I agree 100%. I worked remotely for six years for an independent medical examination company as a medical transcriptionist. We were paid by the hour (unheard of nowadays.) The company went from having all their transcriptionists in one room (50 plus people) to everyone working remotely. Our CEO and COO recognized that allowing employees to work remotely meant production literally DOUBLED in a few short months! Employees were happier and healthier. Come ON managers! Don’t be stupid. You don’t have to stand over someone for them to be productive. I cannot STAND office politics and the dreaded “offices bitches.” You all know who I mean. Will NEVER work in an office again if I can possibly prevent it!

  4. Carlton McCrary

    Walter, you made a couple of very valuable points. I have done quite well as owner/manager/HR person in several businesses wherein there was no micromanagement, only me following my creed – ask employees what each needs to perform better and more greatly enjoy their work. With the explosion of people working alone at their laptop or cubicle, business/people managers are perhaps our rarest component of any workplace. If matters remain this way I think we are in for a crash landing in many business environments where quality managers are rarer than hobby horse poop. And, you bring out ethics and rightfully so. Practice ethics with every supervisor, and if you super doesn’t understand, get out and try to go to a place where the concept is understood and practiced .

  5. Eric West

    How is everyone doing from 3 months ago? I’m seeing in the Philadelphia region, jobs are not as numerous as before. I was recently laid off due to Covid and wanted to see if developers are having a hard time finding jobs. The thread mentioned in the article is not up to date (3 months old) and no one seems to have followed up since then. Hopefully, congress extends unemployment extra because as you know developers do not live cheap (at least I don’t). Fortunately I have a savings that will last me a few months but thats it! These times are really scary.