LinkedIn is having a moment thanks to a wave of layoffs | CNN Business
In a typical year around this time, a typical LinkedIn feed might be full of posts about end-of-year reflections on leadership and career goals and suggested hacks for the year ahead, possibly with a few posts from CMOs who offer advice on brand strategy, forever. measure
These posts are still there. But mixed in are many others about the job search, offers of support for laid-off friends and colleagues, and advice for dealing with career obstacles in an uncertain economic environment.
Some LinkedIn users affected by the recent layoffs have formed groups on the site with the goal of providing support, coordinating to sign exit paperwork, and helping with connections for new jobs. A group of LinkedIn employees affected by the November layoffs at Facebook parent Meta now has more than 200 members. Even bosses who are firing have turned to LinkedIn to explain themselves and seek support or advice, as one marketing CEO did in a post alongside a tearful selfie last year (with results contradictory).
If the first year of the pandemic was marked by widespread layoffs in lower-paid retail and service jobs, the last few months have been defined by something different: the prospect of a white-collar recession. While the overall job market remains strong, there has been a spate of recent layoffs in the tech and media industries, which are a core part of LinkedIn’s user base. Suddenly, the usually staid professional network has become a vital lifeline for recently laid-off workers and a surprisingly lively social platform.
The LinkedIn mobile app was downloaded an estimated 58.4 million times worldwide in 2022 on the Google Play and Apple app stores, up 10% from the previous year, according to research firm Sensor Tower.
The number of LinkedIn posts mentioning “job opening” rose 22% in November compared to the same period a year earlier, according to data provided by the company. LinkedIn says it also saw a steady increase in the rate of users adding connections last year compared to the year before, a sign that users were more active on the platform.
The increased usage appears to have been good for LinkedIn’s business. The platform posted 17% year-over-year revenue growth in the three months ended September, according to parent company Microsoft’s most recent earnings report. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts on the October earnings call that LinkedIn was seeing “record engagement” among its 875 million members, with growth especially accelerating in international markets.
Some of LinkedIn’s momentum may predate the wave of layoffs. “There has been an upswing [LinkedIn use] since the pandemic,” said Jennifer Grygiel, an associate professor and social media expert at Syracuse University. “You had to do social distancing and we were in quarantine and people were working remotely, so there was a change in real-life networking possibilities.”
LinkedIn rose to the occasion, and now it may rise to another.
Even layoffs aside, the social media landscape has had a volatile year. Facebook and Instagram have been criticized by users for competing to turn their services into TikTok. TikTok has come under fire over concerns that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. And after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter late last year, the platform has been criticized for becoming a potential haven for its most incendiary users.
But LinkedIn is still, as always, LinkedIn, and right now, with fears of a looming recession and career concerns, LinkedIn may be just what the digital world needs.
Grygiel said many people working in media or academia are probably looking for a place to build and participate in professional communities other than Twitter. And while early Twitter alternatives like Mastodon have seen increased growth, they still don’t have the same kind of network effect as a legacy platform’s broad user base.
In recent years, LinkedIn has tended to court influencers who regularly post content to the site, which could give users more reasons to visit them. And the platform has been growing its “learning” section, which offers video courses taught by various industry experts, which the company says saw a 17% increase in hours spent in November compared to the previous year. But lately it seems that users have more than enough reasons to use LinkedIn amid a wave of thousands of layoffs.
Perhaps the clearest and most public examples of LinkedIn’s new centrality came from rival social networks like Twitter.
In the wake of Twitter’s mass layoffs in November, in which half the company was terminated, followed by additional layoffs and exits, many former and remaining employees used LinkedIn, rather than the platform they had built, to seek support, community and new opportunities.
A group of Twitter employees created a spreadsheet of laid-off workers from the company along with recruiters hiring for other companies and used LinkedIn to help facilitate sign-ups. Another pair of former Twitter employees set up a system to connect job seekers with hiring professionals open to volunteering to provide free resume review and interview preparation services, which they promoted through LinkedIn.
“We fully understand how the job search process can be scary and overwhelming…While we can’t guarantee where your next opportunity will be or when it will come, we can provide guidance so you’ll be ready for that opportunity when come on.” Darnell Gilet, a former senior technical recruiter at Twitter who helped coordinate the effort, said in a LinkedIn post.
Gilet, which was hit by mass layoffs at Twitter in November following the Elon Musk acquisition, told CNN last month that about 28 different recruiters and talent acquisition professionals had agreed to participate in the system and that he himself had spoken to almost two dozen workplaces. applicants since he was fired shortly after to provide advice and support. He said LinkedIn seemed like the obvious place to promote the service.
“Chaos creates opportunity for someone, right?” Gilet said. “People are laid off and you’ve got this recession coming up, the ideal place … that would have the biggest growth opportunity for that would be a career-focused platform like LinkedIn. So it makes perfect sense.”