(Reuters) – One by one, in the last week of May, Twitter Inc phoned some members of its new class of fresh college graduates and revoked job offers on calls from 15 minutes, according to some of the recipients.
“It was traumatic,” Iris Guo, a new associate product manager living in Toronto, told Reuters. She received the bad news during a video call at 10:45 p.m. that her post had been removed. Since then, she has been scrambling to find a new job in order to get her US work visa.
More than 21,500 tech workers in the United States have lost their jobs so far this year, according to Layoffs.fyi, a website that tracks job cuts. The number of tech layoffs in May alone soared 780% in the first four months of the year combined, according to outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
But recent college graduates like Guo, a University of Waterloo graduate who studied financial management and computer science, represent a new dimension to the cuts, as their fledgling careers are wiped out before they even begin. The trend reflects new austerity that is sweeping parts of the tech industry such as crypto and venture capital firms.
For crypto firms, the tightening of the belt is due to the recent fall in cryptocurrency prices and venture capital-backed companies are also cutting costs to avoid returning to the market for additional funding, said Kyle Stanford, principal analyst for venture capital at Pitchbook.
Crypto firm Coinbase Global Inc laid off 18% of its staff this month, payment firms Klarna and Bolt Financial collectively laid off more than 900 people while big names like Meta Platforms Inc, Lyft Inc and Uber Technologies Inc said they would slow or freeze hiring.
In what appears to be a countertrend to the Great Quit of 2022, when legions quit for new jobs, some tech job seekers are now facing cost cuts and a hiring freeze in a context of high inflation for four decades, a raging war in Ukraine and the current crisis. pandemic.
In the case of those about to join Twitter, the quirks of billionaire Elon Musk also caused stress. Musk has agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but his recent tweets have raised questions about when and if the acquisition will be finalized.
To be sure, hiring in the tech sector as a whole has remained strong, according to experts at staffing and consulting firms. Tech roles in healthcare and finance are strong, as well as in information technology, said Thomas Vick, Texas-based regional director for the technology practice at staffing firm Robert Half.
But for the incoming class of new recruits out of college, losing their job offers now is particularly damaging as they said they were shut out from companies like Meta Platforms, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Google. other tech giants, who have already secured their new cohort of recruits. .
Lucas Durrant, an electrical engineering graduate from Canada, was due to start his new job as a software engineer at Bolt last week. While on vacation a few weeks ago, he received an e-mail informing him that his offer had been cancelled. Bolt announced he would begin layoffs in late May, citing economic conditions.
“It feels a bit like a race against time before we see a bigger economic downturn,” Durrant said. “Very soon, I will also be competing with graduates in 2023.”
At least 40 recent college graduates have lost job offers in recent weeks, according to LinkedIn posts and Google spreadsheets circulating online to help those affected find new positions.
On Tuesday, 22 recent graduates were listed on a spreadsheet as having canceled offers from Twitter and nine people were listed on a separate spreadsheet for Coinbase.
In a statement, Twitter said it recognizes the rescinded offers could put contestants in a difficult position and said it was offering compensation to those affected.
Coinbase pointed to a June 2 blog post that said the decision to cancel a number of offerings was not taken lightly, but was “necessary to ensure we only grow in the areas highest priority”.
Chloe Ho, a recent graduate of the University of California at Davis, and originally from Hong Kong, has until September 29 to find a new job, or risk having to leave the United States. Ho had taken a job as a content marketer for an online grocery company called Weee! before the position was cancelled.
As a non-US citizen who needs a new employer to sponsor her work visa, “my options are very limited,” she said.
Ho said she canceled a lease for a new apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area, scrapped vacation plans with friends, and will now spend the next three months networking for a new job during the day and submitting applications at night. “I had everything planned around this job,” she said.
Many concerned graduates have taken to LinkedIn to express their disappointment, detail how the canceled offers have changed moving plans across the country and ask for referrals to new companies.
Graduates who spoke to Reuters said they were surprised by the level of awareness of people offering to help. Yet the sting of losing their dream job lingered.
A recent college graduate who was to join Coinbase and did not want to be named due to his ongoing job search, said that just a week before he lost his job offer, he received an email from Coinbase assuring him that the company had not done so. plan to revisit existing offers.
“I was disappointed for several reasons. I didn’t think management would make this decision,” he said.
While companies can save money in the short term, they risk “potentially catastrophic” reputational damage, said Brian Kropp, senior vice president of Gartner’s human resources practice.
“Think how unfair it is to the people you’re canceling the offer to,” he said. “You put them in a painful situation.”
(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Kenneth Li and Matthew Lewis)
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