TORONTO — Job search company Indeed says postings on its site for Canadian tech roles have dropped 32 per cent since May and are showing no signs of stabilizing as the sector grapples with layoffs.
With job postings across all sectors slipping nine per cent over the summer and increasing slightly since September, the tech openings drop brings postings in the industry closer to their pre-pandemic level than the rest of the economy for the first time in two years.
"We've gone from really a market in full-out overdrive, where there are such plentiful opportunities for job seekers and really tough competition for employers trying to fill these roles... to one where the situation is a little cooler," said Indeed senior economist Brendon Bernard.
"Employers still looking to fill these jobs might have a bit of an easier time while job seekers probably won't have the same level of options that they did."
Bernard's research shows tech postings were still above pandemic levels in late November and are roughly 47 per cent higher than they were in February 2020, when the health crisis began.
He attributes much of the easing to a shift the tech sector is experiencing.
The pandemic pushed investors to funnel massive amounts of money into tech companies, which were well suited to cater to remote work, videoconferencing and streaming.
Companies in such fields saw their valuations rise significantly until people returned to offices and reverted to prior shopping habits earlier this year, pushing tech stocks down and many companies in the sector to start aggressive cost-cutting.
Companies as big as Facebook parent company Meta, Ottawa e-commerce business Shopify and digital behemoth Microsoft have since made cuts alongside startups like Clearco, Hootsuite and Wealthsimple.
Job cuts aggregator Layoffs.fyi counts 148,431 tech workers were laid off across 946 global companies since the start of 2022.
When an industry is going through a downsizing, Bernard notices many employers in the sector are not looking to hire and job seekers are less patient because more of them tend to be unemployed while hunting for a gig.
"In a world of higher layoffs, that means more urgent job seekers and for employers still looking to fill roles, an easier time filling them," he said.
Before the cuts began, Indeed's data shows overall job postings peaked at 74 per cent above their pre-pandemic level in early May. Tech openings alone rose even more, more than doubling to 116 per cent above their February 2020 level by April.
Higher-wage tech job types, which include senior software engineers, software architects and management roles, increased 149 per cent above their pre-pandemic level.
It's hard to predict whether the tech sector will retain to pre-pandemic levels of job growth or see another dramatic swing next.
Bernard said, "What happens with the overall industry going forward is going to depend both on the interaction with employer demand and job seekers but also on the health of Canadian tech companies more broadly."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2022.
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Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press