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What would the job market look like if the current tech bubble suddenly popped?
18 points by kevintb 101 days ago | hide | past | web | 4 comments | favorite
Let's assume we're currently in a tech bubble and it burst rather than deflated.

Which types of jobs, companies, demographics of the workforce, locations, etc would be hardest hit?




Well I lived through the early 2000's tech crash and the 2008 financial crash while working in both industries and to be honest, things weren't as bad as alot of people made them out to be.

For one, big companies continue to hire.

Remember when sama came out and made his are we in a bubble bet (http://blog.samaltman.com/bubble-talk), one of the things he bet on was the valuation of the big companies. Actually his entire bet seemed weird as his first two of three predictions were things that actually tend to happen from a burst bubble. His 3rd prediction was the only one that actually seemed like he was going out on a limb of any kind.

In a burst bubble, these companies actually tend to do pretty well. Lots of great people are available and these companies have figure out their business model so the fundraising crash doesn't tend to hurt them near as much.

If anything, the best up and coming companies tend to do well as VC's close ranks and put their money behind their best bets rather than spread cash around. And as mentioned above the established players do well as they have cash to ride things out and grab the amazing people who are suddenly looking for work.

Big boring companies also keep hiring. General Electric will always need tech workers and while their order book will slow down, they have lots of reoccurring revenue that helps them get through crashes.

Also, I'm going to assume you mean in silicon valley as you didn't mention a location, I think location is still pertinent. As much as we live in a global world, I think most hiring is still local.

As to which jobs get hit, with tech jobs salaries dominate expenses so you really have to cut head count to move the needle when reducing expenses. This can mean senior people go before junior but that's often a penny wise pound foolish view. It means you live through the next quarter but slowly circle the drain as you can't hit your new targets and the vicious cycle continues.

Marketing often goes first, then sales, then tech jobs for non revenue generating features, then, well if you are laying off engineers that work on revenue generating products you are really shuttering the company at that point.

The two demographics I have seen have trouble getting hired in the worst part of a crash are:

- new grads

- older workers

Employers get alot more picky, yes they can get pickier than they currently are. The former candidates have no experience and are competing with "seasoned" 20 year vets for the same jobs and the later often price themselves out of jobs or don't have the perfect skill set(read ageism).


I can second this. I graduated right after the 2000 dotcom crash. Intel paid me not to show up for the job they offered me. I had a very hard time finding work. I spent the summer learning new things, and eventually I was able to start some consulting work.


In 2000 I was newly in the business, so has to drop out at that point.

In 2008 I had been back in for a while, but had only just switched from J2ME phones to Python and Django - the window for Devs to switch from J2ME had closed and I was inexperienced in python. Worked about 2 months in the first year, and it took about another 3 or 4 to get depth in python (and decide Android was not for me).


The recruiting world changes a lot. It goes from trying very hard to find ANY somewhat qualfied candidate to having so many resumes on your desk that you cant keep up. Recruiters have to go from being trying to contact a lot of people to being able to tell who is actually skilled from all the people contacting them.

It's interesting. Recruiters, third party and internal, also tend to be the first to go when a bubble burst.




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