Jan 25, 2023 - Economy

Exclusive: Global CEO survey from SoftBank shows hiring and retention challenges easing

Data: SoftBank Investment Advisers; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: SoftBank Investment Advisers; Chart: Axios Visuals

Hiring and retaining people for high-growth tech companies has become easier as economic conditions have changed, new insights from a global survey of CEOs show.

Why it matters: The findings are the latest indication that the tech sector is undergoing a massive talent reshuffling.

Driving the news: More than 70% of CEOs who lead a portfolio company of SoftBank's Vision and Latin America Funds say that talent acquisition (74%) and retention (72%) was easier in 2022 than 2021, according to a November 2022 SoftBank Investment Advisers survey shared first with Axios.

  • A separate survey from ZipRecruiter previously found that about 80% of recently laid-off tech company workers found a new job within three months of starting their search.

What they're saying: "The [tech] industry is nowhere near done with layoffs [as it] struggles with making this chasm shift from ... 'How do we grow as fast as possible' to 'How do we get more efficient about our growth,'" Lydia Jett, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, told Axios in an interview.

The big picture: Jett sees the economy generally as being healthy, and the layoffs as an opportunity for companies to "up-skill their talent and hire more experienced people."

  • "Even my companies that are laying off people are at the same time hiring ... because I think there is a really, relatively strong economy underpinning all of this right now."

What to watch: While the majority (67%) of CEOs who responded say they see 2023 as a year to "conserve cash and stabilize the business," around 1 in 5 say they see this year as one to "invest aggressively to gain market share," and roughly the same number saying "invest aggressively in product."

Of note: While SoftBank Group reported its first quarterly profit in three quarters for Q3 2022, the Vision Fund continued to write down some of its bets where losses were roughly $10 billion as VCs across the board struggled against a changing rate environment.

Methodology: Surveyed leaders span across a wide range of sectors, including consumer, health tech, fintech and enterprise tech companies.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that 20% said they saw this as a year to “invest aggressively to gain market share” and 23% as one to “invest aggressively in product” (and not 43% saying they would do either).

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