Tech is hiring but recruitment has changed forever

March 25, 2021

Tech companies including PayPal and Accenture are hiring more now than before the pandemic, while virtual recruitment becomes the norm. Partner Toby Young talks to  Matthew Gooding about tech hiring trends in an article for Tech Monitor.

This article was first published in Tech Monitor on 24 March 2021. Thank you to Tech Monitor and Matthew Gooding for permission to reproduce it here. 

Despite many tech companies thriving during Covid-19, hiring took a hit in the past 12 months, with large corporations and start-ups alike battling an uncertain economic climate. The job market has now started to bounce back but, like many other areas of life, it is unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic form.

Job listings for the largest tech companies fell by more than 40% from the peak in February 2020 after the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic in March 2020, according to data from GlobalData. Since the summer, the number of job openings has shown strong, consistent growth, despite ongoing lockdowns, but only returned to pre-pandemic levels in February of this year.

Some of the biggest names in tech observed a considerable knock to job openings in the first months of the pandemic, falling to around half the number seen at the start of 2020. Big Tech companies such as Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft have seen a notable slump in openings and only just recovered to pre-pandemic levels, despite the fact their business growth and stock market performance rallied through most of last year.


Amazon, the company that saw its revenue grow most dramatically during 2020, posting a 37% increase, is still not hiring as many people as it was before Covid-19 took hold, though with over 800,000 staff on its books (many in non-tech roles) it already employs far more employees than any of its Big Tech rivals.

Tech hiring during Covid-19: the winners

A handful of tech companies continued to swell their ranks throughout the pandemic. Online payments provider PayPal was one knockout performer for job listings, observing a 200% increase in early 2021, even as the other big tech multinationals only began to see numbers tick up to pre-pandemic levels. This no doubt reflects the record payments volumes and new accounts it saw at the start of the pandemic as consumers flocked to a trusted brand as the economy digitalised.

This acceleration of digitisation also explains why many IT services providers are embarking on hiring sprees. Accenture, Cognizant and IBM all have more job listings now than they did this time last year, according to GlobalData.

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