Economy

What the trend of recruiter layoffs may mean for the road ahead

Though recent recruiter layoffs may seem like the latest sign of a recession, the trend might not be all doom and gloom.
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3 min read

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Recruiters who’ve spent recent months scouring the red-hot job market for promising talent are finding the need for their services might now be in jeopardy amid a wave of layoffs. Various tech giants have been among those companies to have reduced headcount this year, citing a looming slowdown that maybe, one day, soonish, will wreak havoc on the economy.

And recruiters haven’t been spared from the onslaught. The latest monolith to place them on the chopping block is Apple, which last week laid off 100 contract recruiters, Bloomberg reported, as part of a broader hiring slowdown at the Cupertino “spaceship.” CEO Tim Cook elaborated on Apple’s revised hiring plan during the company’s Q2 earnings call: “We’ll continue to hire people and invest in areas, but we are being more deliberate in doing so in recognition of the realities of the environment.”

Recruiter layoffs may seem to signal a gloomy stretch ahead, but broader employment indicators suggest this trend might be confined to the technology industry.

The first shoe to drop. Recruiters recently laid off from Carvana, Klarna, and Peloton told Insider last month that those in their position are typically the first in line to walk the layoff plank. “Companies view talent acquisition as a non-moneymaker,” former Carvana recruiter Sandra Delgado told the publication. “We fill positions, so those positions make money in other departments.”

As a wave of hiring slowdowns washes over tech, it makes sense that technical recruiters—who, in Silicon Valley, earn an average annual salary of $102,817—would be among the first to be hit.

Slowdown? Not everywhere. For tech companies at different stages of growth, the economic climate couldn’t be more different, Daniel Altman, chief economist at Instawork, told HR Brew via email. “The mature [tech] companies are reacting to economic uncertainty like companies in any other sector, which usually means pulling back on hiring plans. The growth companies with solid finances are still recruiting…and the rest are focused on survival.”

Beyond tech, the labor market shows signs of promise: The US had 10.7 million job openings on the last day of July, and unemployment sank to its lowest levels since before the onset of the pandemic in February 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

While recruiters in tech have weathered some recent turbulence due to hiring slowdowns, those in other areas of the economy may find themselves on a very different trajectory.—SB

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Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.