Companies across industries are withdrawing job offers they made just months ago, a sign that the tightest job market in decades may be cracking.
Companies like Twitter Inc.
Real Estate Brokerage Redfin Corp.
and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc.
have withdrawn offers in recent weeks. Employers in other sectors of the economy are also withdrawing offers, including some in insurance, retail marketing, consulting and recruitment services.
At the same time, many companies have signaled a more cautious approach to hiring. Netflix Inc.
Peloton Interactive Inc.
and others announced layoffs. Tech giants like Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. and Uber Technologies have warned they will roll back hiring plans.
The job market overall remains strong, with an unemployment rate of 3.6%, near a half-century low reached in early 2020.
But these signs of cautious hiring show executives are having a harder time predicting the next 12 months in the economy, hiring managers and recruiters say. When a company withdraws a job offer, it indicates that a company’s business prospects have changed so rapidly that hiring plans, sometimes made weeks earlier, need to be reversed.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing – like it was a job that I’d had on hold for months and that I could really count on,” said Franco Salinas, 24, who resigned this month from his position as Data analyst learned he had planned to start in July had been scrapped. “It made me realize how fragile things are.”
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Some recruiters Beware that there hasn’t been a huge wave of job offers being cancelled. At the same time, employers still cannot find enough workers for many types of jobs.
But “going from zero to a fairly small amount seems like a big step up,” said Brian Kropp, vice president of Personnel research for the consulting firm Gartner.
He said that six months ago it was almost unheard of for a job offer to be revoked. “If we’ve learned anything from the past few years, it’s that things can change quickly,” he said.
Mr. Salinas is one of many college graduates who have found a job while in college. Information technology consulting firm Turnberry Solutions offered him a job as a data analyst in Minneapolis in October. As an international student from Peru, he said he referred other offers to accept Turnberrys. After obtaining the employer-sponsored visa needed to stay in the country, he felt safe to sign a lease and make other plans.
The company this month asked for the offer to be withdrawn. A Turnberry spokeswoman confirmed that two data analyst bids have been withdrawn, although the company says it is still hiring for other skills.
“We don’t take the decision to withdraw offers lightly,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the firm paid the two consultants two months’ rent as compensation. “We need to regularly adjust the skills we bring to the table as our customers’ demands change.”
Other companies are attributing canceled job offers to the fallout from a slowdown in the tech industry – including the company that made an offer to Jenna Radwan in May. It rescinded the offer two weeks before their June launch date.
Hirect, a chat-based app with a focus on tech recruiting, had wowed the 21-year-old with a starting salary of $80,000, a promise of an uncapped minimum commission of $195,000 and the flexibility to set her own schedule. Ms Radwan felt confident enough to turn down three more jobs and withdraw from three more application processes, she said.
“They gave me a strict deadline, so I was like, ‘I’m just going to go ahead and take this and go with my gut,'” she said.
As she was preparing to start, the recruiter emailed her: Hirect withdrew the offer and stopped hiring due to drastic and unforeseen changes in market conditions.
“We are not immune to these recent challenges, nor to the significant belt tightening taking place across our industry,” said a Hirect spokesman of a recent slump in tech hiring that prompted the company to withdraw two job offers .
Ms. Radwan is taking a more cautious approach to her renewed search for a job in marketing, sales, or account management. She plans to complete each hiring process before accepting an offer, even if it means asking for more time to decide, she said.
“I didn’t even know something like this could even happen,” she said.
Other job seekers who have been abandoned say they are approaching their new searches differently as well. Raleigh Burke took a job as a claims analyst with an insurance broker in Los Angeles in May, quit her old job the same day, and then flew to Hawaii for some rest. When she got home, her offer was gone without explanation. She was surprised, she said, because she was told she was the lead candidate.
Ms Burke, 35, had declined an offer from another company to accept it. “So what am I supposed to do, walk with my tail between my legs and crawl back?” she said. The next time she considers a job change, she said she might not quit until she receives a laptop from the new company or begins the onboarding process.
Right now, many hiring managers are saying that hiring new staff is still very competitive. A Gartner survey of more than 350 HR executives conducted in late May found that around 50% expect competition for talent to increase over the next six months. Almost two-thirds said they had made no changes to their hiring practices or staffing budgets due to economic volatility.
While startups, companies in the ad tech industry and those poised for IPOs may be less stable right now, it’s still a market for job applicants, said Keith Feinberg, senior vice president at professional staffing firm Robert Half. Still, he said he wouldn’t be surprised if job seekers are more cautious about some opportunities than they were a few months ago.
Steven Pope, 32, was due to start a new job as data director for a retail marketing firm after Memorial Day weekend. Instead, he’s back on the job hunt after his start date was pushed back indefinitely. The company informed him that an expected round of funding had been delayed, he said.
Mr. Pope is now taking as many interviews as he can get, he said. He’s also rethinking the types of opportunities he’s willing to consider.
“I look at how these companies get secured or paid,” he says, adding that his tech friends are beginning to prioritize their own searches. “I see there’s already a small shift where safety will come before comp.”
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