The variety of layoffs in Vancouver is on the rise as a result of international tech slowdown


Tech employees in Vancouver are feeling the squeeze as the worldwide know-how trade spontaneously adjusts to life within the pandemic and adjustments in demand trigger corporations to put off lots of of workers.

On Wednesday, Vancouver-based software program firm Unbounce stated it was slashing about 20 % of its workforce whereas slicing 47 jobs. Two days later, native on-line furnishings retailer Article introduced it was shedding 217 workers.

Article CEO and founder Amir Baig stated in a word to workers on the corporate’s web site, “It is not your fault, it is my fault.”

“We had anticipated that the development of on-line purchasing would proceed. That didn’t occur, and it has since reverted to pre-COVID traits.”

Elizabeth Brunet, who has labored within the tech sector for almost 10 years, was one of many distant employees just lately laid off by Unbounce. She says it’s an unlucky scenario however not fully sudden.

Brunet says there have been main adjustments in know-how through the first two years of COVID-19, inflicting folks to change jobs and work remotely.

Signage outside Unbounce headquarters on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.
Unbounce Headquarters in Downtown Vancouver, pictured Aug. 3. The tech firm just lately laid off 47 workers. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Brunet stated that within the face of lockdowns and public well being measures, some corporations have needed to shut down operations and scale back wages – however others have seen enormous uptick.

Companies like Shopify and Zoom have been in a position to meet the wants of individuals caught at residence, giving them the chance to buy on-line or join with household and buddies over the Web.

However now issues are altering once more, Brunet stated. Whereas some companies which have been in a position to keep their success wager large on e-commerce say they aren’t seeing the type of sustained site visitors and progress that the trade predicted through the pandemic.

“It is nearly as if the pendulum has shifted to the opposite facet and now the trade is regulated,” Brunet stated in an interview.

On July 26, Shopify was one of many first main Canadian tech corporations to announce a spherical of layoffs. 10 % of the workforce – about 1,000 employees – have been let go.

Nonetheless, BC NDP Employment Minister Ravi Kahlon insisted that Vancouver’s tech trade is in fine condition total.

“Some corporations lay off some workers, it is truly a development we have seen around the globe,” Kahlon advised CBC. “However we additionally know that there are quite a lot of medium-sized and smaller corporations which might be shortly swallowing up that expertise.”

“The demand for technical employees is excessive in Vancouver,” Kahlon stated. “Final yr alone we had 14 corporations price over a billion {dollars}.”

B.C. Jobs, Financial Reform and Innovation Minister Ravi Kahlon says tech corporations around the globe are shedding employees, however he expects employees within the trade to nonetheless stay in demand in Vancouver. (Mike MacArthur/CBC)

benefits and downsides

Brunet says there are each ups and downs to working in tech and that most individuals are effectively conscious of the dangers.

She stated it is nice to have the ability to work at home and be a part of enjoyable, modern companies — however you all the time know there is a chance the corporate could need to scale down or change route in accordance with market traits.

She says it was a troublesome choice for management groups to put off workers, however she will not be taking it personally.

“In the end, it is simply understanding that the enterprise is adapting to the market and that is what the enterprise must do,” she stated. “Individuals’s technique has modified, the best way folks store and the best way folks work has modified.”

Brunet says he’s humbled by the assist of the technical workers, together with some who have been just lately laid off and others who’ve reached out to share potential new alternatives.

She is optimistic that she is going to get on her toes and says she is “in search of the following journey”.



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