The tech industry is in turmoil.
Large companies like Twitter, Amazon and Meta have slashed jobs at a relentless pace, dumping thousands of workers with a vast array of tech skills into the employment market. Now, the Harvard Business Review writes, these mass layoffs present a significant opportunity for traditional companies to modernize — and no industry presents a sorer need than construction.
Some contractors are starting to wonder what these newly unemployed techies can do for them.
For example, Montreal-based contractor WSP discussed the flight of tech workers on its most recent earnings call. Alexandre L’Heureux, president and CEO, noted that it was in a position to expand what it could offer to its clients.
“We are taking advantage of what’s going on in the labor market," L'Heureux said. "More importantly, we’re taking advantage of our brand to attract the smartest and brightest individuals in our industry, but also outside of our industry.”
However, in order to do so, contractors will have to pay up. Experts told CIO Dive that good tech talent won’t come cheap.
“It’s easy to read the headlines and think you’re going to be able to get talent, and at cheaper rates than it was before,” said Thomas Vick, Dallas/Fort Worth regional director for human resources consulting and recruiting firm Robert Half. “That is not the case. If you’re not making competitive offers, you’re not going to take talent away from where they are now.”
And just because tech companies are conducting layoffs does not necessarily mean they’re laying off tech workers, CIO Dive reported. The cuts at Amazon, for example, are reportedly across various divisions, including human resources.
Filling a need
Contech giants such as Trimble are always looking for new workers with the right skills.
“We don't currently see a tactical advantage in seeking out newly displaced talent from recent layoffs," said Eric Harris, Trimble’s director of strategic communications, in an emailed statement. But, he added, "Trimble is always looking for the right talent to fulfill our long and short-term business needs.” Harris invited any job-seekers to apply for open positions at the company.
One area tech workers could find themselves in the construction industry is in the startup space, filling needs where contractors are looking for innovation, said Max Brickman, the managing director of Columbus, Ohio-based venture capital firm Heartland Ventures.
Brickman believes that laid-off tech workers have the skills to fill these niches, and that historically, Big Tech layoffs have led to spikes in business creation.
“So for us, that’s an exciting time, and we want to be hearing from those folks,” Brickman said.