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The waning ‘Amazon effect’: tech companies are losing their allure for young job seekers

Layoffs in big tech are driving business school graduates to smaller firms

Amazon's facility in Illescas, Spain.
Amazon's facility in Illescas, Spain.Víctor Sainz

The Amazon siren song is fading and business school graduates have stopped lining up at job fairs sponsored the Jeff Bezos company. The rush to work for tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Meta and Apple has dwindled, although recent MBA grads still prefer Amazon’s job offers over the others. All of the tech giants have undertaken significant staff cuts, dulling the luster of years past.

Between 2022 and 2023, technology multinationals cut 200,000 jobs while profits rose. American employees were the most affected by layoffs. In Spain, students and job candidates reacted negatively to the cutbacks. Diego Álvarez, a 27-year-old pursuing a master’s degree in digital marketing, says the layoffs influenced his decision not to join Google. He mentioned the company’s long selection process and inadequate compensation relative to the long hours. Álvarez finds smaller companies more fulfilling, and says he and many of his classmates feel recognition of achievement is crucial, as well as motivation to undertake projects. Both are easier to find in smaller firms.

Business schools report a decline in student interest in big tech companies, along with a decrease in job opportunities in the sector. InfoJobs noted a slight decrease of over 1% in job offers compared to last year. Amazon ramped up hiring during the pandemic due to increased demand, but is now laying off workers and slowing down hiring. “It’s no longer a top recruiter at business schools,” said Patrick Waller, director of IESE Business School’s career development center.

Job Market Insights, a platform that analyzes job offer data, confirms that Amazon’s job offers have decreased by half compared to 2022. The company claims to still be hiring and has opened two new logistics centers in Spain that aim to employ 25,000 employees by 2025. MBA hires by technology companies have dropped from 18% in 2022 to 10% this year. The consulting sector has seen an increase from 33% to 50%, primarily driven by offers from McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, AT Kearney, and Bain for Dubai, which offer competitive and tax-free salaries.

Big Four consulting firms lead in job offers, with a 3.6% increase this year, according to InfoJobs. Students at Spain’s ESADE Business & Law School are increasingly interested in tech consulting jobs and exploring opportunities for greater social impact. Start-ups now offer jobs in sustainability, artificial intelligence and other fields previously exclusive to larger organizations.

“Technology companies still recruit our students, although the overall percentage of hires has decreased. Layoffs in Spain have been less severe compared to the United States. They mostly let go experienced international staff and retained entry-level employees,” said Nacho de Pinedo, CEO of ISDI. He also says jobs in consulting, consumer goods, banking and construction are on the rise. According to De Pinedo, offers are now more diverse with medium-sized companies gaining ground.

A new paradigm

The paradigm of the new generations has shifted. According to Raúl González Martín, director of professional development at ESIC, “Young people now prioritize companies that value their employees. They want work-life balance, clear objectives, as well as a certain amount of freedom and autonomy in the workplace. Companies should be aware of this if they want to attract candidates. Smaller companies tend to adapt more easily and are more agile.”

De Pinedo believes young job candidates are seeking companies that offer meaningful projects where their contributions have an impact. “Recent graduates are prioritizing socially responsible firms with a positive work environment, remote work options, and flexible time off.”

Companies are scrambling to respond to the shift in paradigms, dressing up to become more appealing in the eyes of job candidates.

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