Tech Employment Won’t See a Revival

Tech companies have been making headlines lately for slashing jobs in the pursuit of greater efficiency and profit margins. However, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) means that many of those lost jobs may never come back.

According to a recent note by Morgan Stanley analysts, AI-based productivity drivers are on the horizon. As AI-assisted coding tools become more prevalent and AI-based sales tools reduce the need for armies of salespeople, the growth in headcount may slow or stop altogether. Some jobs that were lost might never come back, and future tech-job openings may not even exist.

This trend has far-reaching implications for tech workers and those hoping to work in the industry. Traditionally, tech workers and software engineers have been thought of as impervious to the march of automation. They were seen as untouchable, as they wrote instructions for the machines that were taking over other jobs. Universities rushed to expand their computer science programs, and policymakers urged people to “learn to code!” However, this assumption is being challenged as the sudden advent of generative AI has left many coders anxious that they too will soon be automated.

Furthermore, recent data from Indeed shows a more than 50% decline in software-development job postings compared to a year ago. Companies, from Meta to Microsoft to Salesforce, have all cut jobs in recent months, and more than 250,000 tech workers have been laid off since the start of 2022.

The pursuit of efficiency and increased profit margins through job cuts has paid off financially for companies such as Salesforce, Meta, and Microsoft, with all three reporting stronger-than-expected earning results. However, the potential long-term implications of AI on the tech workforce must be evaluated carefully. The industry faces a challenging and uncertain future as AI begins to take center stage.

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