How COVID Is Impacting Hiring

As the longer term impacts of COVID-19 continue to reveal themselves, one area we’ve been paying close attention to is the jobs market. In our portfolio, some companies have newfound tailwinds and are accelerating hiring. Others are cutting back either because their business has been impacted or out of a more conservative mindset given the broader unknowns. While pockets of opportunity do exist for job seekers, the aggregate data suggest we’re seeing a major contraction in startup hiring.

Our own job board gives us data from 83 of our portfolio companies. These companies range in size from recent seed stage deals to multi-billion dollar businesses and they span across all the facets of thesis 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. On March 1st, our job board hit an all time peak of 1,553 available jobs. As I write this today, that number has dropped all the way to 871. If you remove some of our whales, where hiring has remained relatively consistent, the data suggests more than a 60% drop in overall available jobs across growth stage companies.

Of course, available jobs only tells half the story. On the site you can find a list of 54,000 tech startup workers that have been laid off from 440 companies. Layoffs have become so commonplace, that companies like Uber are launching directories to help their impacted employees get noticed.

In our portfolio it seems the third week of April is when this contraction in hiring really accelerated. That week alone saw the elimination of nearly 1,000 open jobs from our board. As you can see in the charts above, there was a similar elimination at this time last year. It suggests that companies are finishing up their Q1 hirings, however, this year’s contraction was nearly 6x larger. The other point worth noting is that in last year’s numbers, the amount of new job postings still paced above removed postings almost every week while in 2020 that hasn’t happened since the beginning of February.

When you look across disciplines it seems that departments are being impacted relatively evenly. When we compare new job postings in the month of February to new job postings over the last 30 days, you get a roughly 30% drop across engineering, product, sales, and marketing. The only category that experienced a modest increase in that time was People & HR.

As I mentioned above, the aggregate data paints a dark picture for anyone looking for a startup job at the moment. It does, however, only tell the aggregate story. In our next post we’ll explore some areas where we’re seeing major opportunities for job seekers. In the meantime, if you have questions about hiring in our portfolio you can continue the conversation with me on Twitter @mattcynamon. I’ll be sharing great job opportunities there every day.