IT professionals that have recently left roles at large tech companies are finding new and rewarding salaried and freelance career opportunities at SMEs and startups in non-tech industries
If we take a cue from the latest technology employment data from the US things are starting to look up. There were an estimated 197,000 positions available for the month of March, according to CompTIA’s analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics #JobsReport data,
The unemployment rate for tech occupations held steady at 2.2%, which is relatively still low compared to other sectors.
The hiring of technology professionals will continue to increase at non-tech companies in 2023 to supplement their digital transformation efforts, amid layoffs in the IT sector, according to a report from HR services firm Randstad.
Tech talent in non-tech sectors is expected to increase by 25-30% from 2022, according to Randstad as companies are continuing to digitise their operations and strive to achieve higher scalability.
Non-tech industries, including BFSI, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing and FMCG, are moving to digital operations, leading to a need for more technology talent.
“As a forward-looking indicator the rebound in employer tech job postings is a notable positive,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s chief research officer. “While caution is in order, given the state of uncertainty, the data suggest segments of employers may be stepping back into the tech talent market.”
Those IT professionals that were made redundant from big tech companies over the past year are finding opportunities at startups, cybersecurity and technical consulting firms, according to Herbert.
However, some industries are still making layoffs. Telecommunications accounted for the largest share of the decline at -3,100 positions, which was offset by gains in cloud infrastructure, tech services and software, according to the report.
Positions for software developers and engineers accounted for the largest share of job postings in March, but employers are also in the market for IT support specialists, systems engineers and analysts, IT project managers and cybersecurity analysts and engineers, according to the report findings.
About one in five tech job postings offer remote work or hybrid work arrangements as an option, which means more international work could be on offer for non-US-based contractors.
The benefits of shifting from big tech to an SME or startup
Anyone coming from years of working with big tech companies will have to adjust their pay and workload expectations as they transition to non-tech industries and SMEs. But the daily rewards could make the switch worth it long term for freelancers and the companies that hire them.
Transitioning from a big tech company to an SME can be a great opportunity to expand your skills, gain new experiences, and make a meaningful impact in a smaller organisation and future growth sectors, such as clean tech. Be prepared to wear multiple hats, work in a less structured environment, and be hands-on in various areas of the business.
Pay expectations will likely have to be adjusted as many candidates will be joining companies with smaller budgets, including startups where a 20% pay cut may be the average.
However, if you see potential in a company, it has some impressive investors and there is room for you to grow your influence and skills then the transition to a smaller company could be your best next move.
Must-read books for startup hires
For those of you who want to know how to best navigate working at a startup and to rid yourself of big tech company expectations or assumptions, then it may be worth picking up a book or listening to a few podcasts to get you prepared.
Here are a few to consider:
The Art of the Idea by John Hunt helps “to rid new employees of mental blocks they may have encountered over the years.” The essence of a startup is about a fresh way of filling a void or solving a problem. Often ideas are bubbling up frequently and incorporate just as quickly. Allowing ideas to flow and flourish is an essential concept to learn in order to assimilate into a startup seamlessly. – Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
Zero to One by Peter Thiel explores how companies can better predict the future and take action to ensure that their startup is a success. Thiel is like many of you may already know is a co-founder of PayPal and one of the most prominent venture capitalists in the world. He was the first outsider to invest in Facebook, and he manages Founders Fund’s $2 billion assets. In this book, Thiel offers key takeaways from his own personal experiences.
Here are more books to help you transition to working for a startup.