If there's one sector of the American economy that experts continue to say — or at least hope — is still strong, it's big tech. And for Facebook ($FB), Apple ($AAPL), Amazon ($AMZN), Netflix ($NFLX), and Google ($GOOG), they would be correct. All of the FAANG companies, after years of strong business and Wall Street love affairs, have plenty of reserve cash and continued allegiance from consumers and businesses alike to survive even the worst the economy can throw at them.
But when it comes to hiring activity and investing in future talent, they've all shown signs of cooling down. Even Amazon, which continues to hire for more than 35,000 positions, cooled off from a high of 41,000 openings just a month ago. Here, we take a look at how — and where — the FAANG companies are hiring (or not) to get a better sense of how things are panning out for those who are looking for their next job in tech.
Since at least 2016, all of Big Tech was on a seemingly nonstop hiring spree. In April 2016, they combined for around 96,000 job listings. By April 2017, that number was 673,000. As of December 2019, the FAANG companies posted a cumulative total of 1.44 million job listings.
Amazon, by far, lists the most job openings on its recruiting websites, followed by Apple, Google, Facebook, and then Netflix.
But as of the end of April, that number saw its first signs of continued flattening and even decline. Apple has slowed hiring for most of its divisions, as have Netflix and Google. Even Amazon, as mentioned, has paused hiring for some in-person groups like marketing and sales.
The above graph shows what the absolutely job-listing numbers look across the FAANG companies. Amazon's massive hiring activity is evidence here, but so is its steady pullback in listing new positions as it shores up logistics, increased e-commerce demand, and as it shores up internet COVID-19 testing capabilities given its in-person warehousing operations that have already shown to be small Coronavirus infection hotspots.
Hiring at all of the companies is down when compared by relative percentage change. Netflix has pulled back the most, followed by Google, Facebook, Apple, and then Amazon.
Big Tech remains a largely Silicon Valley industry. Santa Clara and Mountain View have always shown the most job listings. It's in the secondary and tertiary job markets that we see the most volatility. Cities in red in the bar chart above have shown down-trending in terms of new job listings, while those in green have shown recent increases.
San Francisco, Tokyo, and Los Angeles have all seen drops in new job postings. However, New York, Austin, and San Diego have seen recent jumps in priority for big tech, perhaps as part of a more direct talent search or some opportunistic listing activity based on companies that have laid off tech talent.
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.
- Amazon is still hiring for more than 35,000 openings
- Apple is on a hiring freeze ... except for its Hardware, Machine Learning and AI teams
- Netflix added fewer shows last month than usual as production shutdown shows first impact