The beautiful thing about fine art, specifically music, is that it speaks to the issues of the time. Often, those songs are made to address certain historic moments but end up being a case study of sorts for the future.
It can be seen across genres in songs such as Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” or Walter Hawkin’s “Thank You Lord,” where in one of the verses he sings, “economies down, people can’t get enough pay.”
Although some of these songs were produced well before the issues of today, they are perpetual concerns that society has found itself facing again and again. Those same messages are on par with the pain points many people feel and are going through.
One of those pain points is the economy’s impact on the job industry, and it has now impacted what is known as the happiest place on Earth.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Disney is part of the long list of employers recently announcing layoffs. The Florida-based company eliminated its entire Metaverse division. At its peak, Disney employed 50 people as a part of the team that was supposed to be the next generation of storytellers.
“Walt Disney Co. has eliminated its next-generation storytelling and consumer-experiences unit, the small division that was developing metaverse strategies, according to people familiar with the situation, as part of a broader restructuring that is expected to reduce head count by around 7,000 across the company over the next two months,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Whether or not Disney’s announcement comes as a surprise as we consider the current economic landscape, it further indicates the volatile nature of the job market and the continued uncertainty.
However, there could be a direct correlation between the number of layoffs the world is witnessing and the number of open jobs available to those seeking or pivoting employment.
It's Bigger Than Tech
Most of the impact was thought to be concentrated in the tech industry. For a while, it seemed as if tech giants such as Google and Amazon were announcing massive layoffs, leaving people to scramble with what job security means for them.
When Amazon announced its most recent round of layoffs, CEO Andy Jassy doubled down on the industry’s uncertainty in a statement to employees.
“Some may ask why we didn’t announce these role reductions with the ones we announced a couple months ago,” Jassy shared. “The short answer is that not all of the teams were done with their analyses in the late fall, and rather than rush through these assessments without the appropriate diligence, we chose to share these decisions as we’ve made them so people had the information as soon as possible.”
However, the trend has affected more than big tech. In a previous post by AfroTech, companies that made leading statements about DEI strategies went to hire teams to create and curate cultures and develop resources that would address the systemic inequity that has existed for years.
But as the economy has changed, so has the value of DEI-related jobs, leaving only a few, many of whom are white people, to lead those programs for businesses.
“Black employees make up only 3.8% of chief diversity officers. White people, however, make up 76.1% of the roles. Then there are Hispanics or Latinos, which account for 7.8%, and those of Asian descent, which account for 7.7%,” AfroTech reported in February.
Back To Back Shifts
And while big tech, finance institutions, and DEI-related roles have been at the front of news stories, the list of organizations impacted across industries has expanded. Forbes has been tracking the company announcements since the top of 2023, and with Disney making its big layoff reveal, the list is ever-growing.
Some of the biggest companies that have had significant proportions of layoffs in their workforce include:
- Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond on March 24 announced it would cut 1,300 employees after closing 150 stores in August 2022 due to financial hardship.
- Klaviyo, a Boston-based e-commerce firm, decreased its workforce by 140 on March 15.
- Tyson Foods got rid of 1,660 people on March 14. The food company also closed two of its plants based in Arkansas and Virginia.
- On Feb. 22, NPR’s CEO said the news organization would lay off at least 100 of its 1,100 employees.
- And at the top of the year, on Jan. 4, Vimeo announced its second round of layoffs, impacting about 11% of its workforce.
The comprehensive list that Forbes has in place can be daunting to digest, but there is a glimmer of hope for those forced to navigate this evolving job market.
A Glimmer Of Hope
In a separate report from The Wall Street Journal, employers added 311,000 jobs in February 2023. Although the Labor Department reported that this number is down from the 504,000 jobs added in January, it shows a steady addition of available jobs in an environment that would suggest otherwise.
Concerning the jobs added, the unemployment rate has only very idly increased to 3.6% from January’s low of 3.4%.
And with employers still adding jobs, other organizations are doing their part to ensure people at least have resources available to them to navigate the tumultuous space.
In a previous report from AfroTech, LinkedIn career expert Andrew McCaskill shared four ways he believes job seekers can become recession-proof. Additionally, AfroTech has expanded its Resume Book from just an annual resource during its coveted conference to a year-round resource for companies to tap into talented individuals looking to find or pivot into new work.
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