As Silicon Valley Retrenches, a Tech Talent Shift Accelerates

“Nearly every company is going through this — they need tech talent,” said Lori Beer, global chief information officer at JPMorgan.

If the economy enters a recession, employment in tech occupations will suffer as well. There are already signs of softness: Job postings may signal hiring intentions, and online postings in November for tech jobs slipped below 288,000, the first month this year that it was under 300,000, according to a CompTIA analysis of data from Lightcast, a labor analytics firm.

Some labor market analysts are anticipating a decline in employment in tech jobs, especially if the economy further weakens. But history suggests any downturn would be short-lived. There have been ups and downs, but job growth in tech occupations has nearly doubled since 2000, when 3.33 million Americans were employed in tech occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the aftermath of the dot-com bust, there were a couple of months in 2003 when the unemployment rate for tech jobs nudged above the national level. But for most of the past two decades, the percentage of unemployed tech workers has been about half the national unemployment rate. In November, the unemployment rate for tech workers was 2 percent compared with the national average of 3.7 percent.

JPMorgan’s top executives have warned of economic turbulence, deal-making has slowed, and investment banking income is sharply down this year across Wall Street.

Yet despite the uncertain economy, Ms. Beer said, the bank is continuing to invest selectively in tech skills, hiring people with expertise in cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science, and cybersecurity.

JPMorgan has over 55,000 tech workers, up from about 50,000 before the pandemic.

Recruiting has been easier, Ms. Beer said, because of the retrenchment in Silicon Valley. More candidates are available, she said, and there are fewer competing offers for job candidates. And attrition has fallen by about half.