What downturn? Tech job listings are way up. So are salaries. – The Boston Globe

Within 24 hours of being laid off by Boston-based Whoop in July, software engineer Matthew Chapman posted on LinkedIn that he was looking for a new job.
A DraftKings recruiter soon reached out to the 25-year-old about a software position on the firm’s casino team. Chapman’s first day at the Boston sports-betting company was last week. And he’s making 10 percent more money, to boot.
His experience isn’t unusual. Many of the 2,000odd people who were laid off this summer by Boston-area tech companies including Wayfair, Whoop, and Hydrow are already back at work — and many have higher salaries than they did before.
According to two hiring managers, the entry-level salary for engineers in Boston is $130,000 this year, up from around $120,000 last year. Job marketplace Hired found that the average tech worker salary in Boston rose 7 percent this year to $159,000, following smaller percentage increases over the previous two years.
The latest numbers go against the notion that most tech companies are cutting back amid an economic downturn. Reports show that the number of tech positions open still outpaces the number of people looking for work, which suggests that workers who lost their jobs this year are landing their next ones fairly quickly. And companies with enough money are taking advantage of the influx of newly available talent.
“The tech workforce is much stronger than what may appear,” said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, a nonprofit that tracks technology jobs.
Though more than 41,000 workers in the US tech sector have been laid off in 2022, Herbert said the industry saw a net gain of 25,500 jobs in August alone. In Boston, postings for tech jobs are up 31 percent compared to last year, too, slightly above the national average.
When Thrasio laid off Evan Panahi in May, the director of engineering already had new leads in his LinkedIn messages.
“It wasn’t like starting from scratch,” he said. “There are constantly recruiters reaching out.”
In less than a month, Panahi accepted a job at software firm Veeva Systems in Boston. Then, in a sign of how hot the job market is, he chose to leave Veeva for a new position at Needham-based Tripadvisor in July, where his salary is higher.
Employees are fully aware that a well-crafted layoff post could go viral, getting their resume far beyond their personal network. “I posted on LinkedIn and said ‘my gas tank is full, the car is packed, and I’m ready,’” said Devon “Devo” Frohne, a former lead product designer at Whoop who lives in San Francisco. “Out of that, I got connected with roughly 45 recruiters, directors, hiring managers, and founders.” (He’s now in the interview process for a job at Meta.)
“We’re hearing a lot about the layoffs, but there’s a ton of stuff happening underneath the surface about companies growing and hiring and struggling to find talent,” said David Chang, a Boston-based general manager at recruiting startup Hunt Club.
Some local firms are making a concerted effort to scoop up laid-off tech workers.
“When we see layoffs happen at other companies, especially hardware companies in the Boston area, we actively look at the employees,” said Karen Rubin, vice president of operations at Cambridge-based Sense.
Sense, which makes home energy-monitoring tech, has recently hired workers laid off by Hydrow, Whoop, and Wayfair, she said. It plans to hire another 30 employees by the end of the year.
Chapman, for one, said the competition feels more intense than it did when Whoop hired him last summer. Laid-off workers have “flooded” the pool of applicants.
“Because the hiring market is so tight now, I think a lot of people are allowed to be a little bit pickier,” he said.
And to be sure, not every laid-off worker has found a new job right away. Justin Bennett lost his e-commerce marketing job at Boston cybersecurity company Aura over the summer. More than 150 people have applied for some of the openings he’s sought — so far, with no luck. “There are a lot of good jobs out there, but it’s just there’s a lot of good people competing for the exact same job,” he said.
But Bennett is trying to appreciate his time between jobs. “I was really burned out, so being laid off right now is a breath of fresh air,” he said.
Nick Cromydas, the chief executive of Hunt Club, said it’s still an employee’s market — most candidates are finding new positions within 45 to 60 days, a process that took twice as long in 2019. He credits the quick turnaround time to the rise of remote work.
“In 2019, if I was a Boston-based employee at Wayfair and I lost my job, I would have to start searching for Boston-based companies,” he said. “The supply of opportunities has increased by an order of magnitude.”
Aaron Pressman of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.
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