Team-BHP > Shifting gears


Reply
  Search this Thread
859,149 views
Old 18th February 2024, 18:50   #1456
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Being programmer/architect for a very long time has given me the ability to look any software system and estimate how many engineers it requires to build it and manage it.

For example, I said this when Elon Musk went around cutting the Twitter staff by 70%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The Twitter software can be built and maintained by a team less than 100.
And it has always puzzled me why product companies often keep 5-10 times the number than it is really required. Unlike service companies, they don't need a large bench. Yes, they can afford it, but is that a good reason? That is socialism, really.

I was familiar with the term BS jobs for a long time. But today I learned a new terminology, Employee Farming. This is when companies hire way more people than they need for various reasons. However, sense is prevailing after the example of Twitter (X). Boards/Investors are demanding why tech companies are hiring so many extra people. As a result, the practice of Employee farming in IT may be coming to an end.


Last edited by Samurai : 18th February 2024 at 18:52.
Samurai is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 18th February 2024, 19:18   #1457
Distinguished - BHPian
 
androdev's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: bangalore
Posts: 3,088
Thanked: 21,874 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Not convinced about employee farming being universal, but empire building is. If you don’t have P&L targets, your primary bragging right is the number of people that report to you.

Imagine you are a startup with a good potential and you are looking to be acquired, you need to inflate your org size. If you have just 5 people in the company working out of an apartment, people will low ball you. There are rare exceptions like WhatsApp, etc. but majority companies are typical saas/enterprise products without any secret sauce.

Also as the company grows very large, you can’t risk having a very small team. If they quit (especially technical folks), you will have existential crisis. So it helps to have a large team where losing people hardly affects the operations - as such there is a lot of money available with the company.

If any CXO decides to go very lean, it will lead to employee burnout and create needless crisis. Companies with such culture will find it hard to attract top talent. As long as there is money to pay salaries, it’s better to err on the side of bigger employee strength. It’s far easier to pursue high productivity, accountability and innovative experimental R&D projects than be obsessed with lean teams beyond a point.

Some exceptional leaders can achieve theoretical efficiency of human/other resources but most orgs are better off with excess fat.
androdev is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 18th February 2024, 19:29   #1458
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Also as the company grows very large, you can’t risk having a very small team. If they quit (especially technical folks), you will have existential crisis. So it helps to have a large team where losing people hardly affects the operations - as such there is a lot of money available with the company.
I never said you have to be super lean. In fact, I argued for 25% fat in this very thread back in 2022:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
For IT companies with deep pockets, it is better to have 25% fat vs 5% fat when it comes to head count.
My latest post was about having 500%-1000% fat.
Samurai is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 21st February 2024, 10:06   #1459
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

First Meta and now Google are saying the same thing, layoffs are not because of AI, but because of efficiency drive.

Quote:
Zuckerberg emphasized the value of lean operations, noting that Meta, his own company, has experienced benefits from reducing its workforce and eliminating certain management layers for greater efficiency. This approach isn't isolated to Meta; it's a trend that's gaining traction across the tech sector. For example, Instagram, a part of Meta, has reduced roles such as technical program managers, reflecting a broader strategy to streamline operations.

This shift towards smaller, more efficient teams is not just about overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic but is also a strategic choice reflecting a long-term commitment to operational excellence. Despite the difficult decisions to part with talented employees, the focus on efficiency is seen as a pathway to revitalizing companies and fostering a more agile and effective work environment.
https://www.businesstoday.in/technol...213-2024-02-20

Quote:
Google has initiated significant layoffs across its various teams, including the Voice Assistant, hardware, engineering and ad sales teams, marking a continuation of the tech industry’s trend towards reducing workforce expenses.

Google's senior vice president, Philipp Schindler, said on a recent earnings call about the recent restructuring and job cuts.

Schindler said, "I want to be clear, when we restructure, there's always an opportunity to be more efficient and smarter in how we service and grow our customers." He went on to say, "We're not restructuring because AI is taking away roles that's important here. But we see significant opportunities here with our AI-powered solution to deliver incredible ROI at scale, and that's why we're doing some of those adjustments."
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/googl...210822278.html

Google's Schindler appears to be creating a different kind of list.
Samurai is offline   (7) Thanks
Old 21st February 2024, 10:52   #1460
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Amchi Mumbai
Posts: 231
Thanked: 937 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
First Meta and now Google are saying the same thing, layoffs are not because of AI, but because of efficiency drive.
Did they discover this term recently ? or trying to hide top management incompetence ?
Gaur is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 21st February 2024, 23:54   #1461
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaur View Post
Did they discover this term recently ? or trying to hide top management incompetence ?
Neither. The over-hiring was done intentionally, we discussed this intensely in this very thread a year ago.

Where is this leading to?

Quote:
40% drop in IT salary packages due to economic slowdown spurs hiring shifts
In the wake of a global economic slowdown, India's IT professionals witness a significant drop of 30-40% in salary packages, with startups emerging as primary recruiters amidst the turmoil.
https://www.indiatoday.in/education-...647-2024-02-20
Samurai is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2024, 13:13   #1462
Team-BHP Support
 
tsk1979's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 23,717
Thanked: 22,789 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Being programmer/architect for a very long time has given me the ability to look any software system and estimate how many engineers it requires to build it and manage it.

For example, I said this when Elon Musk went around cutting the Twitter staff by 70%.[/url]
Speaking of twitter its not the software which is a time sink. that can be maintained by few engineers. Its the moderation and site management. Twitter now has a much larger number of bot accounts and troll fake accounts as automated systems cannot weed out with the same efficiency.

For example, in internet forums, the moderators do not do any software maintenance, but they are still needed to police the forums, otherwise you degenerate into 4chan. Thats happening with twitter too.

Other than that, the extra hiring in product companies was mostly "lets hire this person before somebody else hires them" mentality. Happens when non engineers call the shots and its all about shareholder value. Many very successful companies who did not over hire are hardly doing any layoffs.
tsk1979 is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2024, 13:31   #1463
Team-BHP Support
 
Chetan_Rao's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 5,870
Thanked: 24,028 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
...

Where is this leading to?...
Temporary rationalisation. I'd be very surprised if things don't go back to insanity soon as markets trend up again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
...its not the software which is a time sink. that can be maintained by few engineers. Its the moderation and site management...

...Happens when non engineers call the shots and its all about shareholder value. Many very successful companies who did not over hire are hardly doing any layoffs.
The problem is most IT organisations look at Resource Management as not much more than transactional activity, and it's now a prime target for 'efficiency' automation for the bean counters. Cue automated processes with no oversight or planning beyond keeping short-term performance indicators out of the red.

Suggest a long-term sustainable plan and staffing strategy that would involve neither frenzied hiring nor mass layoffs, and you get incredulous 'Do you even shareholder value bro?' looks.

They don't know any better, and those that do are considered an unnecessary cost sink. Penny wise, pound foolish. Doesn't really matter to them, it's someone else's pennies and pounds, and the executives get to walk away with their pot of gold even if they run the business into the ground so there's no incentive to care beyond making themselves look good on the next quarterly business review.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 23rd February 2024 at 13:32.
Chetan_Rao is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 23rd February 2024, 13:43   #1464
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Speaking of twitter its not the software which is a time sink. that can be maintained by few engineers. Its the moderation and site management. Twitter now has a much larger number of bot accounts and troll fake accounts as automated systems cannot weed out with the same efficiency.
If you had clicked on the quoted the post, you would have seen I had discussed that. In fact, I don't consider moderation as part of engineering at all.

Here is a fuller quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The Twitter software can be built and maintained by a team less than 100. But the operations team could be bigger, which has to interface with the content moderation team and sales organization that sells ADs. It is hard to comment on the size of the operations team without knowing more details.

I consider it coming under operational matters, rather than engineering (tech stack). If engineering is dealing with content, then it is a poor design. It is like hardcoding in source code. Engineering should enable content moderation, nothing more.
However, in this thread we are mainly talking about engineering teams.
Samurai is offline   (2) Thanks
Old 26th February 2024, 11:55   #1465
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1
Thanked: 35 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
The Twitter software can be built and maintained by a team less than 100.
A slightly different view on this.

For something like twitter, its not just about managing the core code base of the application. For a large scale real world applications like twitter, many other complicacies creep in.

For example, let talk about the data they are handling. Assuming they don't manage the database servers themselves and use some cloud service like AWS (which they probably do), they still need to manage the data. While managing data is still a broad term with many aspects to be dealt with, let talk about just one part - internal access of data.

Since Twitter deals with money and user data from different regions of the world, they are subjected to many different regulations (Europe has GDPR, US has their own etc.) While this probably means they will need separate production support teams for Europe and US (a person who has access to production data of Europe's people probably should not have access to data of other regions), we are not talking about that. This means, there needs to be strict control of who has access to what data, who can see the data (masked vs unmasked) and who cant etc. A developer should not have access to production database at all, but they should have access to development and test databases. In test environments, developers should have access to pull in (encrypted/masked) production data for load testing, model training & debugging purposes. Also, since its its not economically sensible to have an exact replicas of production databases in test environments(way too expensive), typically multiple test databases are created based on LOBs/functionalities, with different teams having access to their own test environment & data.
Clearly, this access management cannot be controlled manually (too error prose to human errors, difficult to debug and track, automate etc). There needs to be some application set up where developers, testers, engineering support staff,operations staff, service accounts etc. can be given and revoked access(preferably via an UI) as they join and leave teams. For the scale of twitter, this might mean access control to multiple platforms (databases, file storages, logs etc.), meaning this access control becomes an application in itself to develop, maintain.
And then there are reporting applications to find out stuff like how many people have how much access (mandated by regulations to be shown to auditors periodically) etc.
There are a lot more to this and I can keep going.

I know this because I am part of such a team for another large banking organization. All put together we are several dozens of people, and not enough.

Granted, the regulations for banks are more strict, and twitter may not be doing the security thing as detailed as a bank, but they must be doing a bunch of stuff at the very least.

They can outsource this work, but that just moves the engineers to another organization.
They can also purchase an application instead of building one, but one -that's expensive and again means some other organization needs those developers and support staff now, two - its extremely difficult to get such an application tailor suited for the architecture one exactly needs.


And this is just for managing the internal access of data - there are other aspects around data management, (at least) dozens of reports for marketing team, ads team etc, reporting databases will be separate from production databases and hence ETL applications and so on.

While building and maintaining the actual code for a twitter replica can be done by a handful of engineers, specially now that the challenges have already discovered and solved, maintaining something on the scale of Twitter can be separate game altogether.
arnabbhagabati is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 3rd March 2024, 07:31   #1466
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Delhi-NCR
Posts: 4,071
Thanked: 64,250 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

According to data from Layoffs.fyi, a layoff-tracking website, a total of 2,62,595 employees were laid off last year by 1,187 tech companies. So far in January, 91 American tech companies have already fired 24,564 employees. Google, Bumble, Expedia, Cisco and a dozen other global companies have rung the warning bell that more lay-offs are around the corner. Sad but true.

This trend is likely to be reflected in India in 2024. As a young person it is most disorienting to losing one’s job for absolutely no fault of one's own except for the small minority who might have job hopped for an obscene salary hike that exceeds their real contribution. In my opinion both employer and employee are at fault when you hire some one with a, for example, 50% hike. But 99% of employees getting laid off are not at fault. It pains me to see CEOs not making any sacrifices even notional ones.

A year and more ago on this thread there was noise from employees about job hopping for 50%, 100% hikes, about damn those WITCH companies, and a few voices of folks, like @Samurai & mine, urging balance, were drowned out. Now the reverse is happening. Maybe the market has shrunk or more likely, in my assessment, the global biggies over hired a few years ago and are now feeling the pinch.

One major reason for this over hiring, boom-bust cycle is that the Tech industry as a whole has way too much spare cash. You can only over hire if your margins are fat and your cash balance is overflowing. Never heard of over hiring in other services industries such as airlines or medicare or power generation. That is because those industries don't carry the profit fat to do so -"let's go hire 500 more pilots and put them on the bench guys!!". IMHO the IT industry is run very inefficiently globally - excess of manpower, cash and wasteful expenditure and at the risk of getting lynched, IMHO IT employees mid-level upwards are way overpaid. My business was in brick & mortar and my board positions today are all in IT and I see the starkness clearly.

IMHO India's golden era of IT coding is drawing to a gentle gradual close just like China's over dominance in manufacturing is now fraying at the edges. Our IT output won't die tomorrow but the 25% growth rates year after year are over. The present model of being a sophisticated body shop++ that the WITCH companies are will gradually shrink in importance. I don't know what impact AI will have on Indian IT workforce numbers. For the next few years I guess this will be an employers market.

I hope India makes significant in roads into chip design and manufacture.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 3rd March 2024 at 07:35.
V.Narayan is offline   (8) Thanks
Old 3rd March 2024, 07:52   #1467
Distinguished - BHPian
 
condor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Speed-brkr City
Posts: 15,857
Thanked: 16,001 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
According to data from Layoffs.fyi, a layoff-tracking website, a total of 2,62,595 employees were laid off last year by 1,187 tech companies.
How reliable is the data on this website ? I checked for a couple of companies, but the numbers dont match. Eg: IBM shows 3900 for 2023, but that was for one specific service Only.

Or are companies able to let go of employees without showing that as lay-off ?
condor is online now  
Old 3rd March 2024, 09:02   #1468
Team-BHP Support
 
Samurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Bangalore/Udupi
Posts: 25,813
Thanked: 45,426 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnabbhagabati View Post
For something like twitter, its not just about managing the core code base of the application. For a large scale real world applications like twitter, many other complicacies creep in.
Good points, but still doesn't justify having so many employees. You may justify 2X, but not 5X.

How much ever we slice and dice, we can't avoid the numbers that are staring at us. Twitter used to have 8000 employees when Musk took over, now they have 1000 employees and managing just fine.

Twitter was not a profitable company, except for 2 years.

Name:  Screenshot 20240303 082134.png
Views: 295
Size:  37.5 KBName:  Screenshot 20240303 082424.png
Views: 311
Size:  39.5 KB

You will notice that Twitter's highest profit was in 2019, with $3.4B revenue. That is the same revenue as in 2023 under Musk, but with 1/8th employees. They don't have profits yet since the company has to pay back the large debt incurred during Musk acquisition.

This is the number that convinced lots of large investors and managements that their HR practices may not be efficient. Also, the Fed interest rates in March 2022 was 0.25% and now it is 22 times higher at 5.5%. There is no appetite for inefficiencies, when the cost of borrowing has raised so much.

Twitter is a very interesting case in this respect. In the pre-Musk day, it focused a lot on extremely employee friendly HR policies and prided itself on being the most DEI compliant company in the world. But it all comes at a cost.

Take DEI. Social justice is the primary goal of DEI, it is not productivity or efficiency. DEI works because most companies have accepted the inefficiency comes with it. They are willing to pay the cost. IT is one of the few fields where one highly skilled person can do more than 10 lesser skilled persons. When you inject DEI into this field, you often have to hire many DEI candidates to replace a highly skilled person who may not tick the DEI checkbox. Current inefficiency allows that. This is not to say DEI compatible person can't be highly skilled. That's a moot point. A highly skilled person doesn't need the crutch of DEI. The inefficiency is caused by lower skilled DEI candidates, not highly skilled ones. Highly skilled DEI candidates actually hate DEI because they want to be recognized for their skill and not their identity.

At Twitter, Musk simply got rid of DEI. From having the goal of total DEI by 2025, they went to zero DEI. He is waging a war against DEI.

https://www.shrm.org/in/topics-tools...usk-dei-racist

Last edited by Samurai : 3rd March 2024 at 09:12.
Samurai is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 3rd March 2024, 13:53   #1469
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 420
Thanked: 1,658 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Take DEI. Social justice is the primary goal of DEI, it is not productivity or efficiency. DEI works because most companies have accepted the inefficiency comes with it. They are willing to pay the cost. IT is one of the few fields where one highly skilled person can do more than 10 lesser skilled persons. When you inject DEI into this field, you often have to hire many DEI candidates to replace a highly skilled person who may not tick the DEI checkbox. Current inefficiency allows that. This is not to say DEI compatible person can't be highly skilled. That's a moot point. A highly skilled person doesn't need the crutch of DEI. The inefficiency is caused by lower skilled DEI candidates, not highly skilled ones. Highly skilled DEI candidates actually hate DEI because they want to be recognized for their skill and not their identity.
Now the realization is dawning that DEI fosters preferential treatment which breeds divisions in the society.

https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/s...581205839?s=20

Quote:
DEI is toxic and has no place in our public universities.

Iím glad that Florida was the first state to eliminate DEI and I hope more states follow suit.
AltoLXI is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 5th March 2024, 01:33   #1470
Distinguished - BHPian
 
condor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Speed-brkr City
Posts: 15,857
Thanked: 16,001 Times
Re: Jobs, Attrition & Layoffs in IT companies

And in the latest round, here's IBM calling for volunteers:

https://www.msn.com/en-in/money/news...fs/ar-BB1jiof6

IBM is reportedly asking its employees who wish to opt for voluntary redundancy to step forward as the company begins another round of global job cuts. The layoffs will target positions in Europe as the company attempts to slim down.

(Europe has been IBM's high resource cost region. Not aware if it's the same for other companies too)

Last edited by condor : 5th March 2024 at 01:34.
condor is online now   (3) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks