Philly employers are aggressively looking for tech workers even as Silicon Valley giants are laying off thousands


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Massive layoffs at major tech companies have dominated the national headlines in recent months, seemingly heralding doom and gloom for tech people. But the reality for most companies, including those in Philadelphia, is a constant shortage of skilled technicians and a desire to hire more.

Recent cuts at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Meta, Twitter, Coinbase and Spotify have grown to over 50,000 roles in tech industry.

But local experts say that many of the positions removed go to support roles such as salespeople and recruiters, rather than technologists and many outside companies. technology field there is still a great need for workers with high technology skills.

“We frequently confuse the distinction between technical jobs,” which exist in all industries, “and jobs in the technology sector,” which includes business functions in a single field. focus on technology. companyChristopher Wink, co-founder and CEO of, a news organization serving the tech and startup communities.

He said the recent waves of layoffs that Wink has seen locally are few. Even for those workers, “the outlook is good if you’re a skilled professional with a reputable company on your resume,” Wink added.

Locally, he explains, “tech jobs” are generally not cut because they tend to focus on maintaining or developing existing products. In that way, Philadelphia is different from Silicon Valley, where many technologists are doing research and development as well as other speculative jobs, says Wink, which may not be in the spotlight during a recession.

“The biggest impact is more psychological impact,” Brittany Nisenzon, regional director of recruitment firm Robert Half, said of the nationwide layoff news. In other words, seeing massive public companies lay off thousands of workers gives other companies pause, but local employers are unlikely to consider mass layoffs. However, they did slow down the hiring process a bit, she said.

Especially in tech-focused jobs, demand has remained consistent, says Nisenzon. Companies want people with software development, DevOps and infrastructure engineering skills, as well as technical support staff, and many companies still need someone to help them transition from on-premises systems, she said. cloud-based system.

“The highest demand is definitely for tech-savvy, experienced people,” she added. That makes it difficult, because local employers also need to attract beginner tech workers, if they want a pool of skilled workers later on.

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The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is running a campaign to attract and retain tech talent in the city. Sarah Steltz, the department’s vice president of economic competition, said shortages of tech talent exist in most places and Philadelphia wants to welcome displaced tech workers who may already be fired.

“Philadelphia doesn’t have the record of being a tech ecosystem” like some other cities, says Steltz. But local companies now see “a unique opportunity to try to build on the concentration of tech talent that we have here in our region.”

Steltz noted that the biggest tech companies have experienced explosive growth during the pandemic and are hiring quickly. There are still more tech jobs posted now than before the pandemic, she said, even if demand eases somewhat. She recommends job seekers look at companies in all industries.

Claire Greenwood, executive director of the development department’s CEO board, added: “The growing biotech and life sciences industries in Philadelphia will need more skilled technicians. She also said hiring for existing local brands is building their own technology and needs workers to do it.

Wawa is one of those companies. The Delaware County-based convenience store chain wants to turn an old store in Center City into a training center for tech workers.

“It’s a great venue and hopefully a clear sign that the technology is alive and well,” Chief Executive Christopher Gheysens said last month. The company builds its own customer-facing systems and spends about 30% of its total costs on technology, he said, and needs more mid-level tech employees.

Wells Fargo is another example, with about 100 open tech positions in Philadelphia. Stephen Battersby, who works on consumer technology for Wells Fargo, says a background in the financial industry is not a prerequisite.

“We are a fintech company,” said Battersby, referring to the fintech industry, which is often seen as a more innovative space than traditional banking with the emergence of apps driven to consumers and cryptocurrencies. Battersby said Wells Fargo has about 300 technology employees in Philadelphia and about 40,000 employees across the company. “That’s comparable to the big tech companies,” he added.

Also in banking, JPMorgan Chase is looking for 725 jobs, including 200 tech positions at various levels, just below I-95 in Wilmington and Newark, Del. The company just broke ground on a new building to house all of those employees, highlighting their investment in technology.

Shrinking from layoffs

The Philadelphia area hasn’t been entirely immune to layoffs in recent months, but they were relatively few last quarter, when compared to Silicon Valley and explained by company-specific stresses or branch.

The mortgage industry downturn late last year led to Radian and Finance of America Holdings laying off workers in Montgomery County. Generic drug maker Lannett Co. The Bucks County-based company announced a restructuring in December, closing two plants in Northeast Philly. The Penn Medicine Hospice at Rittenhouse announced its closure in December, pointing to a shift in people’s preferences for hospice care.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry said it received layoff warnings, known as WARN notices, affecting 1,023 workers in the first month of 2023. For comparison, Pennsylvania’s WARN notices for the whole year. affected a total of 7,493 workers in 2022 and 8,687 in 2021.

Nationally, the big tech layoffs don’t represent the entire job market. Atta Tarki, founder of partner search firm ECA, wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review column that hiring remains a daunting task and layoffs have been near 1% consistently since 2021. shows that this is still a candidate market.

Hire the Philadelphians

One thing that can help employers and job seekers reduce stress the recruitment process—especially in tech roles—are struggling in the middle when working remotely.

Nisenzon, of Robert Half, said: “We see a lot of recruiters looking for on-site candidates. But “the term hybrid is still undefined and makes people nervous because it’s a flexible definition.”

Candidates for the most part prefer to work remotely, she said, but they severely limit their prospects by excluding combined jobs. Being open to a local employer asking for some on-site work means they will only be competing with other local applicants, rather than similarly skilled workers across the US.

“I will continue to encourage employees to consider working onsite,” Nisenzon said. And “recruiters” [should] keep an open mind when working with remote candidates.”

Wink, of, also stresses the importance of getting local employers to hire people who will live in the Philadelphia area, even if they do some of the work remotely.

Each tech job created will support 4.4 other local jobs.

A recent report from titled “The Way Ahead: What’s Really Stopping Diversity in Tech?” explains that while Greater Philadelphia’s tech ecosystem is relatively small, employing only 3.7% of workers in the region, it’s important because every tech job created will support 4.4 other jobs locally. However, that effect wears off if employees don’t spend their time in the area where their employer works, Wink said.

But companies looking to hire tech workers are facing supply problems, the report made clear, and the region’s tech workforce has become less diverse than the country as a whole.’s offerings include in-school and extracurricular STEM programs for kids, as well as advanced skills training for current workers and potential career changers.

The report also recommends focusing on attracting people, not businesses.

“For decades, economic growth has been focused on attracting companies, which in turn will attract residents. The pandemic and remote work will turn this upside down for businesses,” the report said. the most coveted kind of company.” “This presents an opportunity to diversify the workforce by attracting and retaining people by making the best city to live in.”

2023 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

quote: Philly employers are aggressively looking for tech workers even as the Silicon Valley giants are laying off thousands (2023, Feb. 7) taken February 7, 2023 from https ://

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