"Learn to code" used to be a catch-all term, useful both as an insult and as a shorthand way to say that having basic technology skills is crucial in the job market. Over the last decade, tech companies have grown to gargantuan sizes and expanded their products significantly. The consensus was that you should learn to code or you'd get left behind. Thanks to COVID-19, that isn't really the case anymore. At least, not for the time being.

Over six months into the pandemic and despite record growth for FAANG, big tech is still slashing hiring for technology jobs. Our data shows that FAANG companies continue to slash job listings across three major categories, a trend that began earlier this year when the pandemic began and persists into the fall despite companies announcing hiring sprees, record market caps and new products

When we first observed this trend over the summer, we speculated that the downturn could just be part of a J curve as companies adjust to remote work and deal with the initial pains of the pandemic. But if that's the case, that J is going to have a long hook as numbers have remained stagnant or continued to decline for several major categories of technology jobs

Hiring is down overall across FAANG companies. Amazon's announcement of a 100,000-employee hiring spree is not yet reflected in our data and job listings are down by 12.6% for the company overall since January. Though the rest of FAANG is dwarfed by Amazon's incredibly high number of job listings, they reflect similar trends.

  • Apple's listings are down nearly 31%;
  • Google's are down by 27% (almost exactly 1,000 fewer listings than in January);
  • Facebook's are down by a dramatic 42%;
  • and Netflix's are down 33%.

Software Engineers

Apple leads the pack, but its decline hiring for software engineer positions has more than doubled. Software engineering positions are down 35% for the company since January as compared to July when they were down by just 14%, showing a continued effort by Apple to divest in these jobs. Amazon's listings are similarly down by 36.5%, though its greatest decrease came earlier in the year as opposed to Apple's much more recent dip.

Though they hire for far fewer software engineering jobs overall, Netflix and Facebook are also trending downwards. The two companies have seen declines of 32% and 15% respectively so far this year. 

Google stands out as the one major exception in the category. The company's hiring of engineers has increased by 27% since COVID-19 began, thanks largely in part to a very recent spike in job listings at the end of September. Whether Google is hiring fast and hard for a specific project or re-investing in engineers, this slight upward curve stands in significant contrast to the rest of its FAANG colleagues.

Hardware Engineering

Though not as dramatic as the previous chart, even the flipside of software engineering's coin has been affected. Hardware engineering jobs are shrinking or remaining stagnant as well, perhaps as companies focus on bolstering existing products rather than trying to launch new ones.

Amazon and Apple's hiring dipped up and down throughout the spring and summer months, but today their hardware job listings both stand at just one position more than on January 1. Google and Facebook, however, have much more dramatic results - even if their hiring for such roles was lower to begin with. Google's listings are down 54% while Facebook's are down 65.6%.

"Designer" jobs

For this final chart, we've grouped any job listing containing the keyword "designer" into the same category. This chart may include web designers, product designers, graphic designers and more - and despite that generalization, these listings are still experiencing a downward curve. 

Amazon's listings are down 44% since January, Apple's are down 26%, Facebook's have remained largely stagnant and Netflix's dropped from eight to just one - far from any significant swing either way. Google stands out once again as the only chart moving in the opposite directionwith a nearly 30% increase in listings for the category. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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