Big Tech job-switching stats - exclusive

👋 Hi, this is Gergely with a bonus, free issue of the Pragmatic Engineer Newsletter. We cover one out of five topics from The Scoop #39, published two weeks ago, 23 February. To get full newsletters twice a week, subscribe here.

I have collaborated with a tech recruiter - they’ve asked to be anonymous - who’s been running some very interesting queries on LinkedIn for software engineers. Here are some of the results, visualized.

How software engineer populations have changed across Big Tech:

The percentage change in software engineer roles at various companies, based on LinkedIn data, between Oct 2022 and Jan 2023.

What’s behind these changes? The most common cause, unsurprisingly, is the layoffs announced during Q4 2022 at Twitter, DocuSign, Robinhood, Meta, and Stripe.

Bytedance/Tiktok growing so fast is surprising. I hear TikTok is hiring aggressively, mostly in the US. It has also hired some engineers in Poland, where the company opened its first European R&D office in 2021.

This rapid headcount growth at TikTok, coupled with it supposedly making a loss and its traffic growth in the US slowing, makes me wonder if the company might adjust its forecasts and perhaps reduce staff.

Google’s headcount increase just in the past 3 months shows that its hiring slowdown since October has not really been a slowdown, and headcount growth has been stable during that time.

Meanwhile, Apple, Netflix and Airbnb seem to continue to hire software engineers at a good pace, and all are employers about whom I’ve not heard rumors of job cuts. A few weeks ago, I set out why I’d be surprised if Apple goes down that path.

Although AWS and Salesforce also hired during this period, both have announced cuts which include software engineers.

At which companies are software engineers more likely to interview externally? On LinkedIn, anyone can set an “open to opportunities” flag which only recruiters can see. So we took October’s data points and compared them with January’s. Here’s the results:

How the ratio of software engineers open to new opportunities changed in 3 months, across tech companies.

Twitter is where most software engineers looked for roles elsewhere. This is hardly surprising, given the company let go about 70% of staff, executed by Elon Musk during a series of cruel changes. Companies with recent layoffs - Meta, Salesforce, Lyft, Google - are ones where there’s been the most spike in engineers being open to new opportunities.

What about places where engineers seem less interested in quitting? What is common across Snap, DocuSign and Robinhood is how they all had a first round or layoffs in the fall of 2022. So the decrease in people open to leaving is likely because a lot of engineers who wanted to leave: they already did.

And how do companies compare in what percentage of software engineers working there have signaled to recruiters - even if privately - that they are open to new opportunities?

How the ratio of software engineers open to new opportunities compares across tech companies. Netflix engineers are the least likely to be open, and Twitter folks are the most.

What are Big Tech companies where it’s most likely to find software engineers looking for new opportunities? Twitter, Amazon, Cisco, Meta, Coinbase, Salesforce and Uber are all companies where recruiters might have more luck getting responses than, for example, at the likes of Netflix, Databricks or Stripe.

This was one out of the five topics covered The Scoop #39. A lot of what I share in The Scoop is exclusive to this publication, meaning it’s not been covered in any other media outlet before and you’re the first to read about it.

The full The Scoop edition additionally covers:

  1. A historical pushback at Amazon on returning to the office. The tech giant joined the ranks in announcing 3 days per week in the office from May. However, this move is facing a pushback I’ve not observed at any other Big Tech giant. I’ve talked with current employees and bring you the details. Plus, expect a spike in PIPs at the tech giant. Exclusive.
  2. Changes in the tech job market during the past month. Observations from the Pragmatic Engineer Talent Collective. Software engineers with experience that used to be rare to see as available to hire are now on the market. Exclusive.
  3. The job market for new grads: worse than in 2008. Insights from the founder of Launch School, Chris Lee, based on his unique observations with access to lots of different companies and engineering departments. Exclusive.
  4. More “traditional” companies going against the tide of cuts. Nintendo and Mercedes-Benz are rewarding staff better than usual, while most tech companies are cutting. Could there be longer-term implications of employers putting staff ahead of finances? Analysis.

Read the full The Scoop here.

Featured Pragmatic Engineer Jobs

  1. Senior DevOps Engineer at Polarsteps. Amsterdam.
  2. Senior Software Engineer at Ladder. $150-175K + equity. Palo Alto (CA) or Remote (US).
  3. Senior Software Engineer at GetYourGuide. Berlin, Germany.
  4. Senior MLOps Engineer at GetYourGuide. Berlin, Germany.
  5. Senior Software Engineer (Reporting) at CAST.AI. €72-96K + equity. Remote (Europe).
  6. Senior Software Engineer (Security) at CAST.AI. €60-90K + equity. Remote (Europe).
  7. Senior Sales Engineer at CAST.AI. Remote (Europe, US).
  8. Senior Frontend Developer at TalentBait. €60-80K + equity. Barcelona, Spain.
  9. Technical Lead at Ably. £95-120K + equity. London or Remote (UK).
  10. Senior Software Engineer, Missions at Ably. £80-100K + equity. Remote (UK).
  11. Software Engineer at Freshpaint. $130-210K + equity. Remote (US).
  12. Senior Software Engineer, Developer Ecosystems at Ably. £80-100K. Remote (UK).
  13. Senior Web Engineer, Activation at Ably. £75-85K. Remote (UK).
  14. Web Engineer at Ably. £70-75K. Remote (UK).
  15. Staff Software Engineer at Onaroll. $170-190K + equity. Remote (US).
  16. Staff Software Engineer at Deepset. Remote (US, Europe).

The above jobs score at least 10/12 on The Pragmatic Engineer Test. Browse more senior engineer and engineering leadership roles with great engineering cultures, or add your own on The Pragmatic Engineer Job board and apply to join The Pragmatic Engineer Talent Collective.

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