The layoffs are here for those who chose to 'learn to code'

The layoffs are here for those who chose to 'learn to code'
Recruiters were overrepresented in layoffs last fall. Now software engineers are making up the majority of layoffs.Getty/Luis Alvarez
  • Software engineers have overwhelmingly faced layoffs this year, per data from Revelio Labs.
  • Coders made up 14% of employees at tech companies, but represented 20% of layoffs in 2023.

Coding jobs have long been equated with job security in the tech industry. But for those who chose to "learn to code," Vox reported the wave of layoffs wave in 2023 is challenging that notion.

Software engineers may be some of the first employees to go amid widespread tech industry layoffs, according to data from Revelio Labs, a company that compiles publicly available-workforce data.

Of the estimated 170,000 layoffs across the tech industry this year, software engineers represented nearly 20% of cuts, despite making up 14% of employees, per data from Revelio Labs.

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The layoffs are here for those who chose to 'learn to code'
Software engineers represent nearly 20% of layoffs so far in 2023.Revelio Labs

That's a big shift from what the data showed in the fall of 2022, Reyhan Ayas, a senior economist at Revelio Labs, told Insider.

"Earlier layoffs were focused on future hiring. Recruiters and HR were overrepresented in those earlier layoffs," said Ayas, who led the recent study. For these findings, Revelio pulled data from and Parachute List last Thursday.


"If we look at 2023 layoffs, it's software engineers who have overtaken recruiters in layoffs," Ayas told Insider.

This shift also signals a change in focus for company layoffs, Ayas said. While layoffs were previously focused on the future of hiring, by targeting engineers, companies are now focusing layoffs on current business priorities and product priorities, she said.

This research builds on data Revelio published with Insider's Aki Ito last September, which found that recruiters were overrepresented in layoffs by nearly 8%, compared to other positions. Then, software engineers were overrepresented in layoffs by nearly 4%.

Since then, Revelio's new data suggests that nearly 5% of tech company layoffs impacted recruiters — the position that saw the most layoffs after software engineers.

Recently laid-off workers searching for highly-skilled, high-paying positions may also face greater difficulty navigating new jobs. After being laid off from Twitter, a former Twitter engineer told CNN that the current job market in the tech industry was "hot garbage."


What started as a wave of layoffs in the tech industry has now rippled to the finance and media industries as well. Just last week, Lyft announced it would cut more than 30% of its workforce — which makes up 1,200 jobs. A day earlier, BuzzFeed said it would lay off 15% of its workforce and shutter its BuzzFeed News division.