back to article Still got a job at the end of this week? You're lucky, as more layoffs hit the tech industry

It has been a bad week for thousands of tech workers this week, with multiple corporations announcing that headcount reduction will continue for the time being. Around 50 percent of Bandcamp were let go by Epic ahead of the site's sale to Songtradr, Stack Overflow cut headcount by 28%, and LinkedIn showed around 700 people - …

  1. Dimmer Silver badge

    Hire as you grow

    Think long term. Employees are a part of your business not consumables.

    If it is a gig, hire that way.

    Anytime you are considering full time, review the business first.

    Are they growing?

    Do they have a marketable product that makes a profit?

    What is their turnover rate?

    Is the management full of condescending asses?

    If the pay is good enough, consider it a gig.

    I tell my guys, “ I won’t fire you, only the customer will”. No customers, no income to pay your paycheck.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Hire as you grow

      >I won’t fire you, only the customer will”. No customers, no income to pay your paycheck

      Obviously written by a small business owner. This is how business should run but when a business gets to a certain size it plays by very different rules. (A 'certain size' is often known as 'too big to fail' but its really a bit more nuanced than that.) Large businesses are less interested in customers, they exist to 'maximize shareholder value' (and by extension 'C-Suite bonuses') which for a large business with a captive market that customers and employees are not that important. (There's a large PR department to handle them, anyway -- and if you can get government in your pocket then you can even use legal coercion to keep them in line.)

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Hire as you grow

        The time to tell when a company gets to a 'certain size' is when it creates a HR dept to 'look after' the employees

        At that point the manglement can disconnect from having to know much about the employees and the employees just become numbers on the HR's spreadsheet, especially if its a technical job and the HR staff have no qualifications in the tech level stuff.

        Although it is quite amusing after a round of layoffs and dismissals organised and selected by HR, that the manglement saves even more money by eliminating the HR dept.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          That actually happens - from time to time.

        2. YetAnotherXyzzy

          Re: Hire as you grow

          I have learned that when my employer gets big and successful enough to take on a full time HR person, it's time for me to move on.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Hire as you grow

        Also when company is too big to fail, they often hire extra staff just so that competition can't or "just in case".

        Many people I know were hired that way and haven't got anything to work on for months. But the pay was okay, they didn't have to come to office and could work on their side gigs.

  2. Tron Silver badge

    No poets got fired last week.

    Governments are complaining that we do not have enough IT staff and keep throwing money at STEM education. Yet here we are with experienced IT staff being kicked out of jobs.

    You do have to wonder about the competency of those involved in hiring staff. Are they hiring on a whim? You either need stuff doing or you don't. How badly are these companies being run? Very, I expect.

    Having humans to speak to for customer service matters. AI customer service means the company wants your money but doesn't give a toss about its customers, and you should not rely on their products or trust them.

    1. Dimmer Silver badge

      Re: No poets got fired last week.

      I ask a prospective hire 3 questions.

      If they own a vehicle or home, do you do any of the repairs?

      What type of computer do you have at home?

      Do you know how to use Wireshark?

      Last guy:

      No I don’t, I don’t like repairs.

      I have a laptop. (No interest in kind or power)

      What is Wireshark?

      But I do have a degree in network security!

      The one I hired:

      I do as much as I can.

      Dual boot OS, and proceeded to tell me all about how he built it.

      Yes!

      But I don’t have any certifications.

      HR would have hired the first one, not the one that can do the job.

      On the one I hired, after answering the 3 questions, I then turned over to the tech team to vet him. After all they would have to clean up any mess he made.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: No poets got fired last week.

        Problem is, if you asked me "what is Wireshark" I'd say "Absolutely NO idea". But if you sat me in front of it and asked "have you ever used this" I'd say "yeah, network analyser, used these things for years, used this one in my last three jobs".

        I have NO IDEA wtf the applications are CALLED, I just *USE* the ****ing things. *Especially* when the name of the thing gives absolutely no idea WTH it does. "Wireshark" to me says some sort of attack system, something whose primary purpose is damage and destruction. Something to avoid, and root out of your systems and destroy from high order, in the class as "loan shark".

        When recruiters get this into their heads that the correct question is "do you know how to do user administration?" and not "have you experience of Folder Panel?", *then* /maybe/ we can get some sanity.

        There was one job I had recently where after six months of so of using the ticket management system somebody asked me "what experience have you got of &^%$*^%$&^%?" Absolutely no idea. Turns out that was the name of the ticket management system I'd been using for six months. What they SHOULD have asked was "what experience have you got with TICKET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS!!!!¬!!"!. not some bollock marketing bullshit garbage nameology.

        1. rcxb Silver badge

          Re: No poets got fired last week.

          I'm all for not memorizing things you can look-up easily...

          And I'm in the camp of "If I was looking at the config file I could tell you exactly what to change, but I can't explain--theoretically, in a conference room--how I do my job.

          But still, I'm not with you on being completely ignorant of the name wireshark. It is an incredibly well-known cross-platform tool any network admin would have experience with, it comes up in discussions and documentation.

          I mean... how do you install and run it when you don't have a clue what it's called?

          It's pretty extreme to be unable to recall the name. The problem in this case may not be with the whole rest of the world. This seems to be just a "you problem" that you might want to look to fix, by doing something as simple as carrying around a card or small notebook with important job-position relevant terms written down with definitions.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: No poets got fired last week.

            I cannot remember the name of the various ticketing systems I used in my last three jobs. It ran as soon as I started the web browser.

            I cannot remember the name of the user administration system I used in my last half dozen jobs. I just did Start -> Programs -> Admin -> User Admin

            I cannot remember the name of the mobile phone number allocation system I used in my last job, I just did Favourites -> Phone Number Allocation.

            I cannot remember the name of the email client I used in my last six jobs, I just double-clicked on EMail or did Start -> Programs -> Email.

            I cannot remember the name of the backup system I used in my job four jobs ago, I just plugged the bloody thing in, opened the filer, and double-clicked on whatever icon it was that I double-clicked on.

            If you asked me what car/cooker/washingmachine/fridge I had I'd have to go and look at it. IT'S. JUST. A. BLOODY. CAR/COOKER/WASHER/FRIDGE. That's all that matters.

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

              Re: No poets got fired last week.

              Remembering the names of products is what those from South Asia do to pad their CV's.

              I would not ask you those questions.

              What I would ask you is how you would approach a certain problem that I'd encountered recently.

              I you asked me the right questions about the problem and proposed at least some of the right answers you might get a second interview.

              Most of what we do is solve problems. If you can't solve everyday problems then get the hell out of Dodge and stop wasting my time.

              That approach also gets rid of the S. Asia 10 years experience of W11 time wasters.

            2. Cav Bronze badge

              Re: No poets got fired last week.

              Nonsense. How do you troubleshoot problems? How do you look up assistance online for whatever app you are using? If you are talking to someone else, how do you\they ask "is X working at the moment?".

              I don't believe you. You have to know what systems you are using. You certainly should know.

          2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: No poets got fired last week.

            Having worked with many neurodivergent individuals, I completely understand how someone might forget a tool's name while still being proficient in its use. Often, people create aliases for tools like Wireshark, subsequently forgetting the actual name and instead recalling it by, for example, 'ws'.

            I mean... how do you install and run it when you don't have a clue what it's called?

            You can Google "packet analysers linux" and something will ring a bell.

            1. martinusher Silver badge

              Re: No poets got fired last week.

              1) It wasn't even called Wireshark until relatively recently.

              2) Its a nicely designed front end program that interfaces with the capture library, libpcap. This library does a lot more than just capture traffic.

              3) There are other front end programs that use libpcap; you might even want to write one for some special purpose (although Wireshark is quite customizable)

              4) So what?

          3. elip

            Re: No poets got fired last week.

            Hmmmm...well, to be fair, maybe he just knows the name Ethereal?

        2. Dimmer Silver badge

          Re: No poets got fired last week.

          Harston,

          You are exactly correct and the response I would expect from a professional as yourself. It is not the answer they give, it is how they answer.

        3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Software Package Names

          To some degree, you're right, but, in the case of network analyzers, I'd expect the user to know the name - NetXray, netmon, Ethereal/Wireshark, etc., if only because they have different command-line invocations and parameters, different scriptabilities, different filters and filter syntax, etc. We're not talking toasters or automobiles here.

          But maybe you don't use any of the "advanced" features. Perhaps you just click a desktop icon and work the GUI. Possibly you don't automate anything within your network analyzer. If true, that says something negative about the effectiveness of how you work.

        4. Bebu Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: No poets got fired last week.

          "what is Wireshark"

          You mean "Ethereal"? :) Still prefer tcpdump as the first cab of the rank.

          But the point is well made. The question might have been more exploratory such as "what network traffic analysis tools have you used?" Followed by "can you describe a problem that these tools have helped you resolve?"

          Oddly I have a nasty suspicion that the mind of a poet could a far better handle on the bigger picture in most disciplines including IT than current management but that is not really saying much.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            tcpdump is the other acceptable answer

            It is still my preferred choice for doing the actual captures, as the UI for wireshark still chokes on high volume captures, and it loves to drop packets.

            That said, if you are being hired to do network analysis, you need to know Wireshark because that is where the protocol analyzers live. Someone that blinks and calls it Ethereal either let their skills go stale (to the point they resemble a Halloween prop skeleton) or they are the kind of pointlessly argumentative pain in the ass that you will regret adding to the team every day you have to talk to them.

            Yes that probably applies to me too, but I'm trying to be a better person.

      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: No poets got fired last week.

        > Do you know how to use Wireshark?

        I still call it Ethereal...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No poets got fired last week.

        Those 3 questions are utter garbage and I’ve never worked anywhere where HR have done the hiring. I own a house and a car and have zero interest in repairing them, I’d rather pay someone else to do that and I’ll have time to spend doing more interesting things.

      4. chivo243 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: No poets got fired last week.

        Why can’t you be the guy that interviews me? :-)

        I’ve been interviewing for some time, had many phone interviews by non technical hiring staff who had no idea what the questions they asked meant. No I don’t know O365, but I’ve used enough directory/account applications like AD,OD, GSuite etc. that it won’t take very long to pick it up…

      5. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: No poets got fired last week.

        In some places use of wireshark (& other similar tools is banned, worked at places where even "improvements" on windows task manager such as various incarnations of processhacker were banned) ).

        So could be a problem question for some people.

        As for vehicle repairs - some people enjoy it. Those that don't will do something they enjoy on their spare time & not want to waste it on car repairs (not to mention that (certainly in rainy UK) you ideally need access to a garage (or other rain free area) to do some work (e.g. lots of electrical stuff) on a car, plus the appropriate tools so need to have a certain wealth level to pursue that hobby (renting in UK very low chance of a garage, if you "own" a house, many lack a garage or garage has long since been converted to dwelling space in the houses history).

        That car maintenance question seems to be a reflection of the interviewers interests more than anything else

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: No poets got fired last week.

          I understand that its important to find people with a practical, hands-on, mindset but vehicle maintenance isn't what it used to be, especially with newer vehicles. You need specialist tools and some kind of lift or pit to work on them. So some finesse is needed with those questions. Its also important to know the difference between an enthusiast and a professional.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No poets got fired last week.

      "Having humans to speak to for customer service matters"

      Not if it's budget-price offshored humans, working in some arm-pit contract call centre on the other side of the world. Look at Virgin Media as a perfect case study.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet small businesses, startups and middle-tier companies, and most large companies still search for software engineers. Checking the by-and-large job market every week, local companies in my town have TWICE as many job openings on well established online platforms for people in IT than for waiters or construction workers. My linked in profile (Yes, the irony isn't lost on me), still attracts recruiters left right and center.

    So it seems winter isn't coming any time soon for engineers.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      There's lots of thrashing between hiring and layoffs. It's strange because some regions have made this a very expensive process. California requires 60 days notice for significant layoffs, yet HR will lock out everyone with 5 minutes notice then pay them to do nothing for 60 more days. Then they're hiring 5 days later, while 100+ are still getting paid to do nothing.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        And you can be sure tha tthere's some genius with a masters in business management who has planned things that way.

        This is why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

        And it's not a very well-crafted handbasket either.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      "local companies in my town have TWICE as many job openings on well established online platforms for people in IT than for waiters or construction workers"

      Yeah, but you started by talking about software engineers. How many job openings do they have for software engineers?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I did the search, and at current count, it's slightly less than for waiters. Which, considering that waiters are the second largest group atm. right after IT, is still a helluva lot of jobs.

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      And yet small businesses, startups and middle-tier companies, and most large companies still search for software engineers

      They still search, because they can't offer the right amount of money.

      My linked in profile (Yes, the irony isn't lost on me), still attracts recruiters left right and center.

      Just tell them upfront how much money can nudge you out of bed and most will stop bother you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > They still search, because they can't offer the right amount of money.

        Oh, I bet they most certainly can. And until they figure that out, either their positions will remain open, or they will have to lower requirements. Or they don't...and then go out of business because surprise IT is somethat important in the digital age. Awww. So sad. Anyway.

        > Just tell them upfront how much money can nudge you out of bed and most will stop bother you.

        The thing is, I have a job that I love. I am not even looking. My profile says as much.

        That doesn't deter them.

        So yeah, if they ask nicely, I will tell them what I currently earn, and if they make me an offer that is substantially better, both in terms of salary and what the job entails, I might consider switching ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Delusion is the current industry standard

          So yeah, plenty of these posts are going unfilled, and also turnover is high at companies with unreasonable expectations.

          This will sort itself out to some degree, but whenever 15-20k new bodies hit the job market, the subset of jobs you'd actually want to trade up too gets flooded. We just filled an open slot in our team for a guy to split for greener pastures. One of the candidates we interviewed had almost as much experience as I did, and was applying to a lower position because he sensed a mass layoff coming and his whole team had hit the ejector seat. His company expected him to do the work of three people so he bailed too. A cautionary tale to those beancounters who swing the axe at their IT staff.

          But while this will probably get worse next year, companies will keep hiring IT people because they need them. Some that try cutting them will end up rehiring at a markup, and it plays in our favor to try to make space for good people that aren't being treated well and are good hires. Even if they move on in the near future, they will drive up the cost of labor, and remind management to listen when we ask for market rate. It costs them more to replace us than it does for them to pay us after all. So if the area your in isn't keeping the IT sectors pay up with the cost of living, help people leave the companies that aren't paying fair market rate, even if you can't give them the big bump they deserve. Their company will have to start singing a different tune once the turnover rate bites them, and the people you help now may be the ones who return the favor down the road.

          We may not be in a union, but it doesn't mean we can't get off the sidelines and into the game. Management is already on the pitch. Organized labor is more than a payroll deduction from your check after all.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    But the job market is booming....

    ....at least in the US, so we're told.

    The problem with employment numbers is that they don't reflect the actual value of jobs being lost and on offer. If I'm laid off from my high skill (and hopefully overpaid) tech job then find that the only jobs available to me are low wage service sector jobs then according to the Labor Department there's been no net loss in employment.

    Still, the only thing I can say (having "been there, done that" over the last few decades) is that its a painful lesson to learn that the good times only last for a bit and that there's really no entitlement to them anyway. If someone wants to pay you a lot for your job then don't put anything in their way but recognize that this is only going to last so long so save like mad -- just because you haven't personally experienced a layoff or sour job market doesn't mean it can't, and won't, happen to you. Its only a matter of time.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: But the job market is booming....

      The job market in the U.S. is the best I've seen in 45 years.

      The high profile whales are NOT the job market.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: But the job market is booming....

        Please use irony tags.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: But the job market is booming....

      so save like mad

      No, this is bad advice. Rather invest and if you don't know how just choose a go to ETF or get an adviser. Investing currently is the only way to beat the tax man and inflation.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: But the job market is booming....

        I don't think they intended "save" to mean "put money in a box and do nothing with it". I think they meant it to mean to keep the money in something that should earn some return and a risk level that isn't concerning to you, rather than spending it. That way, you can avoid being that guy who has a well-paid job that most people couldn't dream of, loses it, and has to panic about paying necessary bills because they spent all their money on luxuries. Investing properly is saving, as long as your approach to investing isn't more like gambling and you keep saving the proceeds.

  5. Jurassic.Hermit

    HR

    The Human Remains departments will be busy, some even sadistically enjoying the culling…

  6. Atomic Duetto

    Hey Nicole

    Any chance of a transcript to parse?

    Thanks

    1. PRR Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Hey Nicole

      > Hey Nicole, Any chance of a transcript to parse?

      +1!!

      Or so I can follow the chat with my tin ears without scaring the dogs "Four strange people talking?!?!"

      (Headphones? I've heard of them. It's complicated.)

  7. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Where are these layoffs happening?

    Is it all in the US?

    Because I've not heard of any significant, if any at all, lay-offs here in Australia. And I assume Europe, with proper labour protection laws, also doesn't practise "hire'n'fire".

    At most, from what I've seen, their doing a bit of "get back in the office or else" - even though they were knowingly hired living 500km away. That too is mostly the US tech giants. For contractors rates are still going up, because overall there just aren't enough good people around.

    I suppose there's your choice US tech workers: unionise or emigrate.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Where are these layoffs happening?

      Europe does do hire'n'fire. It's called variously contracting, zero-hours, agency, outsourcing, transactional. Phone call on Tuesday. Can you do a site on Wednesday? Ok, that's one day's work. You get paid for the one day they need you, not the four other days you're sat by the phone waiting for them to need you. "We're doing a roll-out and need four day's work." You get paid for four days' work. Once the roll-out is done, then it's done, no more pay. It's all "lump of labour" work, employers purchase a lump of labour from you, and just pay for that sole lump of labour.

      1. Dimmer Silver badge

        Re: Where are these layoffs happening?

        In the states it is called contract labor.

        The state wants you classified as contract labor so they can grab the fines they impose when you did not do some paperwork correctly.

        The feds, want you classified as an employee so they can get all the taxes from you and the business.

        And about %50 of the time they over lap and they both come after you or the person you are doing the job for.

        Work for a corp, lots of chairs can fire you. Work for yourself, less chance of getting fired by ALL. My opinion it is more security working for myself.

    2. PRR Silver badge

      Re: Where are these layoffs happening?

      > there's your choice US tech workers: unionise or emigrate.

      Unions have different flavor in different places. In post-WWII USA, some folks see unions as a way for low-class labor to take middle-class wages and drag the company down. (The true story is much richer but widely neglected.) In other cultures unions have strengthened society.

      "They" tried to unionize me.... well actually I was nominally in a union which took dues and lobbied politicians, did nothing for me. But a bunch of other IT workers had snuck into payroll without union representation. When this got to be obvious there was a push to unionize (to take dues and lobby politicians). A LOT of my semi-peers objected. Smart guys think job security comes from interviewing well and jumping-ship frequently. I sat in the same chair for 37 years. The guy who took my job-range when I retired moved-on 3 times since, and probably tripled his pay. Enough, if managed, to ride-out any hiring slump.

      That was a special case, a state university. Salaries and promotions were below other organizations, but the work was steady, and if you managed your benefits you could come out ahead of financial or industrial IT careers. Also 'special' b/c the circle-jerk relationship between school and state, union dues and political oversight.

      It gets hard to emigrate from the US. Our IRS taxes our pay even if we live elsewhere. Renouncing citizenship is frightening (USA has been OK all my life) and also red-tape-tangled, and slow, and expensive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Check your notes

        US respect dual or multi-citizenship in most cases. Taxes on income when you reside in another company are based on where the income is coming from, and usually if you are working abroad for a foreign company you are paying your host countries taxes, not US taxes. Investment income and other parts of your exposure are a little more complicated, but you would get taxed on work completed for US companies. That makes sense as otherwise people would mass emigrate to a tax haven (on paper at least), though in reality companies are really good at exfiltrating profits to foreign subsidiaries using the gaping loopholes in the US tax code. But the big Indian outsourcing companies made sure Uncle Sam keeps a close eye on attempts to shield off shore labor from taxes.

        No need to renounce your citizenship in most cases either, more people do it as protest then out of necessity. You just need to at least meet your host countries version of permanent resident status. Note that while many countries have rolled out the welcome mat for techies, some give you a path to local citizenship and some don't. Contrast recent Australian and New Zealand tech visas in that regard. Some of us may fancy spending a few years working abroad, but remember if it comes with an ejector seat you will be tossed into an international move and an unknown job market. If your host country offers permanent residence at least, it keeps your career options more open.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    No need to worry

    No snark here. High profile companies are not the end all, be all of the computer world.

    I've said this before, there are millions of high tech jobs that nobody hears about that are the real heart and soul of our modern world. If you find yourself laid off from the high profile zaibatsu, there is still plenty of work out there.

    But you'll have to set your expectations lower. Not real low, but lower. Like, middle class, low. And taking time to get rehired.

    As another poster said the other day, it's almost like a start-up is more stable employment than working for the whales these days. This is as dysfunctional as it gets.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: No need to worry

      Aiming for middle class is setting expectations higher, not lower.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: No need to worry

      But you'll have to set your expectations lower. Not real low, but lower. Like, middle class, low. And taking time to get rehired.

      Here in the UK, IT is a working class job and pays poorly.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: No need to worry

        Why the downvote?

        We all know that IT and related technical professions are regarded here as just above the guy who mucks out the lepers.*

        But the comment is right about the pay

        * thats when we're needed, the rest of the time its below the guy who mucks out the lepers

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: No need to worry

          I didn't downvote, and I'm not in the UK, so I can't know exactly why they did. My idea of why they did involves something that might be a misconception, since I don't know what normal pay rates are for various jobs in the UK, and when they've been discussed before, the numbers were all over the place. One thing that I think might have contributed to it is IT versus programming. The previous comments were mostly talking about programming jobs, whereas the comments talking about the UK's mentioned IT. That disconnect could have gone unnoticed by someone who assumed they were saying that programming was a working class job and paid accordingly.

          Whether that was intended or not, there's also an attitude by some people in the industry that they're not paid enough, even among some people who earn a lot more than others could expect to be. I am a programmer and my income is somewhat high compared to the average in my country. That doesn't make me capable of buying whatever I want or living in luxury, but it does mean that I have a lot more stability than some do. Occasionally, some colleague of mine will complain about the financial hardship they think they're going through, an argument I find unsympathetic since it is a level that many could not get to. Whether their underpaid or not, which is always possible, they're not experiencing the hardship of people who don't have a job like this. I don't know how many programmers in the UK this applies to, let alone other types of work in IT, but perhaps the person who pushed the downvote button was reacting to that assumption whether accurate or not.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: No need to worry

            by someone who assumed they were saying that programming was a working class job and paid accordingly.

            Programming is a working-class job. Anyone with the right mindset can do it; you don't need formal qualifications, nor do you need wealthy parents to break into the industry. However, when it comes to wages, programming also falls into the working-class category.

            UK developers earn on par with electricians, carpenters, plasterers, roofers, carers and so on. In many cases, they might even earn less.

            I know a programmer who was extremely depressed because his girlfriend, a self-employed cleaner, was making more money than him. Cleaning is a profession that requires substantially less time to master, and you're unlikely to wake up in the middle of the night worried you used the wrong product on a client's tiles.

            The UK has a poor attitude towards engineering in general, especially IT, where workers are often regarded as overpaid shirkers who just sit at their computers doing nothing, yet they are paid substantially less than their counterparts in other countries.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: No need to worry

              "Programming is a working-class job. Anyone with the right mindset can do it; you don't need formal qualifications,"

              That was not my meaning, nor do I think it was yours. "Working class" is not a term that is much used in my country, since it's hopelessly vague about exactly what boundaries there are on it, even more than the still vague "middle class" etc. In addition, not all programming is comparable. I have three problems understanding the level of pay that workers in various countries can expect:

              1. When we end up talking about some job, we're often rather nonspecific about what it is. I've split it into IT and programming, but someone who writes a few scripts and someone who writes the code that absolutely must run in a certain number of processor cycles and will cause something to blow up if it crashes are doing very different jobs and will be paid very differently.

              2. This is more my problem as a foreigner, but I have trouble understanding what a certain number of pounds means as a lifestyle. Converting it into local currency only goes so far to giving a picture since the more expensive parts of life are usually the ones that vary most between locations, which makes comparisons more difficult.

              3. When people have stated numbers, they have had some pretty massive ranges. In one article I remember, the article spoke of salaries ranging between £50-150k, which is a pretty wide range in itself, and then we got into a discussion of how much that was worth where salaries as low as £20k were added in. This effectively gave me a range from the 30th to the 99th percentile of individual income in the UK*, which doesn't really help me imagine what is realistic.

              In the case of your example of the programmer and cleaner, I'd be curious to know how this worked out. Was the cleaner working a lot more time? Were cleaners in short supply in the area? What, specifically, was the programmer doing. The comparison suggests that they were working similar amounts, but since that wasn't stated, it could also be a cleaner working many hours compared to a contract programmer who only has one small contract at the moment. If that happened, while that might be reason to be unhappy, it wouldn't actually lead to the conclusion that cleaners are paid more for their work than programmers are. Since I don't know the details, I cannot possibly judge whether that's reflective of the country or not.

              * Percentiles are for anyone with taxed income in the year. It was not specified how much work they did or whether they're in a household. Figures were from the 2020-2021 tax year from the UK's ONS.

              1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                Re: No need to worry

                1. When we end up talking about some job, we're often rather nonspecific about what it is. I've split it into IT and programming, but someone who writes a few scripts and someone who writes the code that absolutely must run in a certain number of processor cycles and will cause something to blow up if it crashes are doing very different jobs and will be paid very differently.

                You would be surprised that those jobs, where you need to "write the code that absolutely must run in a certain number of processor cycles" are paid the lowest. That's why many talented workers here don't even bother to look for these jobs and just do web development because it happens to pay the most (and maybe finance stuff).

                what a certain number of pounds means as a lifestyle.

                You get 25-50% of what would you get in the US, while paying more tax, still having to pay for private healthcare on top and you have to flat share until your late 40s. That's typical IT living if you don't find a partner to buy a house with.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Those pay brackets are a trick

                When you see a spread like 50-150k in a posting know that the company is playing games and the numbers are bullshit. The top value is clickbait and an SEO trick to get the posting in front of you even if you are filtering posts to only show jobs over 100k. The lowball offer is there so you have a harder time suing them when you show up to that interview with a killer CV and they still don't offer you that 150k.

                Yes it sucks and it wastes everyone's time. Know what you are worth and what your walk away price is, and don't be afraid about being upfront about both at the beginning of the application process. You can say that out of respect for everyone's time you need to know what they plan to tender based on the experience shown in your application. If they won't give you a reasonably close estimate they are either playing games or don't have enough power to push a hiring decision through and you are talking to the wrong person. Unless it's your dream job, focus on other applications and interviews, and let them know that you are prioritizing your time on applications to postings that are more concrete.

                HR has to adapt their tactics when we do. If they can't schedule candidates for interviews, the people inside these companies you would actually work for will start putting pressure on them. Some places are starting to ban posting misleading job offers and requiring reasonably accurate salary info. The sky isn't falling. Push for it where you are too. It is also helping close the pay gap for women and minorities in tech.

                1. doublelayer Silver badge

                  Re: Those pay brackets are a trick

                  It wasn't one particular job quoting a range. It was an article discussing pay rates in the programming industry in the UK. Since we're talking about it, I've found the article I was talking about. Most of it isn't relevant. The part that I was referring to is this:

                  Moreover tech roles account for over half of roles in the £50,000 to £70,000 bracket and three quarters of roles in the £100,000 to £150,000 band.

                  Meanwhile, here someone has quoted their salary as £32000, and although they weren't specific, it sounds like they're doing a programming job. I am trying to understand how likely a certain salary is. If someone tells you that they're a programmer and earn £50k per year, does that sound plausible, too low, or too high? What if they said they were a sysadmin? Would someone doing such a job at a large company be likely to earn a significantly different amount? I really have no idea about those answers, because some people on that article said they earned over £150k per year, some quoted numbers in the £30-40k region, and there was a lot of discussion attempting to equate many numbers in the middle with the edges of the range. This is why I can't know whether my experiences of unsympathetic colleague complaints are generally applicable to the UK, or only some parts of it.

      2. markr555

        Re: No need to worry

        "Here in the UK, IT is a working class job and pays poorly"

        Don't talk rubbish, it's a well paid middle class job if you are reasonably technical (programmer or similar)

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: No need to worry

          Quote

          "Don't talk rubbish, it's a well paid middle class job if you are reasonably technical (programmer or similar)"

          No it aint, I celebrated to other day as I noticed I broke 32k for the first time.(others pull in more than me but thats due to shifts/overtime), my reward: debugging some POS model so we could actually program the thing(looked like the customer's designer had advanced from crayons to a CAD station without the usual passing through the 16 yr educational system everyone else passes through).

          After the 3rd phone call and resulting e.mail with a new model even the boss heard the 'OH FOR ZARKS SAKE!" from the carpark.

          If someone offered me a job cleaning toilets for 30K I'd accept (the loss of 2k is worth it for the increase in social status)

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Nadella

    He's worth every cent of the $48.5 milltion for 2003

    https://www.theregister.com/2023/10/20/microsoft_ceo_nadellas_compensation_drops/

    It's only his hard work that came up with all the innovation, design, coding, marketing, sales etc etc that has grown the company and made it what it is today. The ones who go laid off and those still employed are just free loaders. They should lay off more and increase his compensation by the amount saved.

  10. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    They should come to Germany :D

    This article is US-Centric of course, where hire and fire is common. And they will find a new job very soon, so I wouldn't worry about that.

    But for those who are fed up with this: Come to Germany. Most of us peak English quite well, and from what I hear and see from US who moved here they don't regret it. Though they have to be ready for some culture shocks since the "US-Germany" and "Reality-Germany" are quite different. But we also have a lot of things in common... And you can use curse words here, and nobody cares and limits your "free speeck" (in moderation, don't torret here). Only when you get close to saying Hitler and Nazi stuff be careful, this is not tolerated here - a leftover "national shame" from dark times.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: They should come to Germany :D

      I stumbled upon some videos on YouTube from Americans who had lived in Europe for a couple of years. All the videos and all the comments said the same thing: We don't want to move back to America.

      Now living in Brexit land, I do wonder about moving across the channel to somewhere slightly less crazy that the UK.

      1. Ashto5

        Re: They should come to Germany :D

        The UK is not crazy

        It is however interestingly managed by the current suits.

        The actual people are brilliant.

      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: They should come to Germany :D

        > Now living in Brexit land

        No problem, execute your own brexit. Though sadly by FAR not as simple as it used to be, as Maximilien Robespierre clearly shows. Pretty much nationwide regret, except for a few unable to learn and do the Trump-style fingerpointing and whataboutism. And some "I voted for brexit" complain about the missing freedom of movement, want it back.

        But Britain will be in the EU. The question is rather: Within the next 20 or 30 years? 10 years would be great for Britain, but I doubt that will happen so fast due to Brexiteers doing the blame game.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Like planting a tree...

          The best time to un-brexit was 10 years ago(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomberg_speech)

          The next best time is today

          Instead they want you to wait for decades.

          The people that sold Brexit were liars, fools, and thieves. Brexit was and will remain a disaster, why leave the same liars and fools in charge? THEY want to stay in charge so they can continue to pillage your fortunes. What's in it for you again?

  11. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    People and Computers

    are idiots. Stop over extending yourselves. Simple.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: People and Computers

      No.

      People are idiots.

      Computers are shit. (Follow the link, funny story!)

      (Edit: youtube link)

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: People and Computers

        Skip to 21:33 in linked video if you want to save time.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an "opportunity" to shed people who don't fit the company's needs, aren't actually as good as they think they are, or should never have been hired in the first place. Looking around the place I work one could easily spot 1 in 10 who fit one of those descriptions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Deadwood

      Of course competent management would have pruned problem hires proactively and visibly enough to discourage other team members from being dead weight in the future.

      Instead in so many companies, management is clueless who is actually keeping the company afloat, and too scared to ditch bad hires they signed off on. So they ignore the cruft till they can cover up the bad news with some larger market event, and half of them use it as an excuse to go after people who they don't like, other managers teams, or other office politicking. So you get the same kind of blunt instrument culls that indiscriminately decimate whole teams.

      Then a good chunk of your essential talent marches out the door and goes to your competition, probably with a copy of your source code and customer database to boot. I'd never do it, but plenty of disgruntled former employees do. None of this is new, and none of it is being fixed. Those that choose to fail, continue to, regardless of their state of denial.

  13. Bogeypro

    Unfortunately, the slower economy and higher wages has businesses tightening their belts.

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