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Tech Worker Layoffs are a Windfall for the Building Tech Industry

Amazon headquarters

The tech world has been rocked by recent layoffs by Silicon Valley titans like Meta, which laid off 11,000 employees in November—13% of its workforce. Other notable companies cutting staff include established brands like Amazon (10,000), DoorDash (1,250), and Cisco (4,000). The total cuts running through the industry also include dozens of smaller firms and start-ups. It’s clear the bleeding is being felt among every size company.

While the job market’s correction has left thousands of employees reeling, such a large pool of young, educated workers is a boon for other industries in dire need of such talent. Building engineering and controls is an industry well positioned to scoop up displaced talent of this caliber. However, competition among companies is likely to be fierce, so tailoring job placements and interviewing strategies to meet the common needs and expectations of tech workers is essential to success. Getting the approach right will give companies in our industry an edge in nabbing the best candidates. Here are a few things to consider.

Company Culture: Make the Right Kind of Difference

The immense importance Silicon Valley grads place on company culture is no secret—it’s probably second only to profits. So many job seekers will have an expectation that your company culture is a priority. But culture can mean different things to different companies. If your culture is composed of a few events per year for workers and a free coffee bar, you’re missing out on a key component of tech work culture: social responsibility.

Many millennials and Gen Z workers expect a business to do more than simply make a product or provide a service. It’s about impacting the world on a deeper level than material needs. Therefore, companies should highlight benefits such as paid time off for volunteer work or company-wide volunteer days to candidates. Many applicants will expect such social responsibility in their definition of culture. Besides, company culture is a good investment for increasing retention rates. It won’t matter how good the sales pitch if quality workers leave because they aren’t happy.   

Woman interviewing male tech worker

The Future: Reassurance and Transformation

Having had their careers suddenly upended, laid off workers will be looking for job stability. Many will find themselves having to rebuild their career. Take the opportunity to reassure interviewees about the future of your company. Many building controls companies, system integrators, and engineering firms have long histories to promote. Use that organizational longevity to your advantage. Highlight senior employees, long-term client relationships, and internal promotions tracts. These aspects of your company will go far in alleviating worries about the future.

Another anxiety reducer is promoting the transformative power of the applicant’s knowledge and skills for the building controls sector. While some tech workers may see the shift as a step “down” in their careers, it’s imperative that you emphasize this is a lateral move. To the public, building controls may not be as sexy as iPhones, but they’re more important to the basic functioning of the industrial and commercial world. Frame your open position as a “fresh start” for those applicants soured on Big Tech.

Work-Life Balance

Remote and/or hybrid work are common benefits many tech companies have provided post-pandemic. While some executives are eager to welcome employees back into the office, employees are feeling less enthusiastic about the return. If a flexible work schedule is part of your employment model, you’re probably a more attractive option for tech workers. If not, don’t consider it a deal breaker. Suggest an in-office trial period to give them a chance to assimilate before moving to WFH status.

It’s possible that what the prospect wants (or is willing to live with) is a good work-life balance. Most employees want workplace flexibility that gives them room to design their own schedules and get their work done during non-traditional times or places to meet personal needs. Given today’s building tech automation systems, it’s easy to accommodate work schedules outside normal business hours.

Again, push the idea of new beginnings and career transformation. Starting over makes it easier for prospects to see a new office with a new team as a positive quality rather than a negative one. If you prioritize a good work-life balance and promote in-office work as essential to a successful culture, tech workers may be more willing to forego the benefit.

H-1B Work Visa Holders

Many tech workers are immigrants, and those holding an H-1B visa will need to find jobs within the 60-day grace period or be forced to deport. That cranks up the pressure for both employers and those job seekers. However, employers may find it tempting to take advantage of the situation when negotiating salaries, benefits, or flexible work schedules, but it’s a tactic that can easily backfire and exists within an ethically (possibly legally) grey area. Instead, communicate your company’s values of diversity in hiring and team building to attract the best and brightest. Remember: even with the recent surge of unemployed tech talent, there are still many more positions than applicants.