Thousands of software engineers and industry experts are worried that their job market, which only recently promised stability and security, could now face a downturn amid the threat of artificial intelligence replacing many traditional roles.
Research by Motherboard and Blind details and exemplifies the stark reality of workers in the market, both employed and unemployed, and paints a concerning picture about the imminent future.
The uncertainty comes as layoffs, which have slowed somewhat, continue. In 2022, around 165,000 tech workers were laid off, followed by over 262,000 in 2023, and more than 3,000 in the first two weeks of January 2024 alone (via layoffs.fyi).
Software engineers worried about AI
One experienced software engineer who lost his job in March says he has gone on to apply for over 250 positions, facing intense competition and lengthy interview processes.
His personal findings mirror those of a study of over 9,000 software engineers by Motherboard, carried out by Blind, which found that nine in 10 believe it’s more difficult to get a job now compared with before the pandemic. Two-thirds said it was “much harder.”
On the other end of the scale, only one in 20 (6%) software engineers were “extremely confident” that they’d find another job with the same total compensation if they lost their job today.
A big push to upskill workers could soon manifest itself in a skill surplus, despite the skill shortage that we continue to hear about. That’s because the rise of AI-powered coding tools, such as those allowing natural language programming, have raised questions about the future demand for human software engineers.
With the number of tech layoffs fast approaching half a million since the start of 2022, this study paints a bleak picture of the future, but with just as many studies presenting opposing information, the reality is that many of us are likely to live through a period of uncertainty, and only time will tell whether AI will replace human jobs.
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With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!