Tech Sector to Shed Some 180,000 Jobs in 2008


Just last week I wrote about a couple of surveys indicating that many companies plan to add IT staff in 2009.


That may be true. But it doesn't change the fact that the tech sector is currently shedding jobs at a rate not seen since 2003. As ZDNet reports, citing figures from recruitment specialist Challenger Gray and Christmas, the tech sector will likely lose 180,000 jobs by year's end. Tech companies have already cut 140,000 jobs through Oct. 31, a 31 percent jump over the 107,000 total jobs lost in 2007.


In 2008's third quarter, as the economy continued its downward slide, the electronics, computer and telecommunications industries announced plans to eliminate more than 82,000 jobs, outpacing the almost 51,000 jobs lost during the first half of the year. And the year isn't over yet. Another 20,000 cuts have been announced since the beginning of Q4, and Sun Microsystems said last week that it will lay off up to 6,000 employees.


A perfunctory review of recent IT Business Edge news items over the past few weeks shows a flurry of such announcements, including Nortel's elimination of some 1,300 jobs in the wake of a third-quarter loss of $3.4 billion; additional downsizing at Motorola, which has been shedding jobs since last year; Avid Technology's plans to cut 410 jobs; and Yahoo's move to slice 1,500 jobs.


The cuts are happening across the Pond, too. There's BT Group's decision to cut 10,000 jobs (at least some of them subcontractors and offshore workers); UK cable operator Virgin Media's plans to lose 2,200 jobs during a major restructuring; and Nokia's plans to lay off workers in Finland, Germany, Egypt and the U.S.


As I wrote last month, some tech start-ups are making the difficult decision to cut staff to remain in business as venture capital and other funding sources dry up.