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Mar 3, 2020 | John Barrett, ON In The News

‘WeWork effect’ may cause technology hiring slowdown in 2020 – data from ON Partners 2019 Digital Jobs Index


Data for this article was provided by the ON Partners 2019 Digital Jobs Index, reporting on the nation’s largest tech centers of Boston, New York City and the Bay Area.

Featured in Crain’s New York Business written by Ryan Deffenbaugh — March 2, 2020 — Amazon hired 1,700 new people in the city last year, by one count, bringing on more New Yorkers than Google and Facebook combined.

The three tech giants added the most New Yorkers to their ranks in 2019, according to a report Monday from ON Partners, a technology consulting firm. Compass, Spotify, Microsoft and Uber placed in the top ten as well. 

City tech sector hiring jumped 10% between 2018 and 2019, according to the report, which estimates hiring based on mining LinkedIn headcounts. The analysis has tracked the markets in New York, Boston and Silicon Valley since 2012. New York last year added technology jobs at a faster rate than Boston, but lagged behind the 11% growth in California’s Bay Area.

John Barrett, a partner at ON Partners, warned that hiring slowed among major technology companies in all markets at the end of 2019. He chalked part of the problem up to a “WeWork effect” following the startup’s botched IPO attempt

“You had both the trade wars and a large fallout from WeWork,” he said. “A lot of both private and public companies realized they had to focus on bottom-line profitability more.”

Barrett said his firm’s data is typically accurate to within a 5% margin of error.

Amazon is not part of that slowdown. CEO Jeff Bezos committed in September to hire 30,000 people across the U.S. by early 2020, ranging from $100,000-per-year software positions to $15-an-hour warehouse workers. 

The company’s internal job board showed 974 active listings in the city as of Monday morning. Amazon is looking to make hires in software development, sales, advertising, data science and operations, among other fields. The company had 37,000 jobs listed worldwide in mid-February, according to the Seattle Times, which reported the total could be the highest in Amazon history.  

While the retail giant backed out of a second headquarters deal last February that promised to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City over 15 years, the company has steadily built on its New York real estate portfolio. 

That included a lease for a 335,000 square foot office on Manhattan’s West Side, where Amazon plans to employ about 1,500. The company is also staffing up a warehouse in Staten Island, with plans to open more distribution facilities in New York’s outer-boroughs. 

Google added 894 jobs in New York last year, while Facebook hired 806, according to the report. 

Only one firm on the top-ten list, Compass, was founded in New York. Boston’s list, meanwhile, featured just two companies based outside Massachusetts: Amazon and Google. 

The dominance of outside firms “is very unique to New York,” Barrett said. “I don’t know if it is good or bad, it just a fact of life.”

The report highlighted several New York-based technology firms that increased hiring in 2020: Rent the Runway, Datadog, Justworks and Squarespace. 

Asked to comment on ON Consulting numbers, advocacy group Tech:NYC pointed to a recent study by Accenture that found a majority of New York’s largest technology firms plan to increase hiring by at least 20% this year. 

“We have heard companies continue to be confident in opening offices here or expanding their offices,” said Zachary Hecht, policy director for Tech:NYC. “The [ON Consulting] report shows hiring is happening across different sectors, whether e-commerce, social media, software or transportation.” 

To read the full article, visit Crain’s New York Business.




ON Partners propels an organization’s mission by building C-level and board leadership teams. Founded in 2006 by like-minded consultants as a values-driven alternative to the multi-service global firms they were leaving behind, ON delivers a better executive search experience. The firm has been named to the Inc. 500/5000 Lists six times, was named to the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame in 2018 and is consistently ranked among the top 20 retained executive search firms in the U.S.  See our recent placements for software and internet companies.

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