The Entire Agile IT Group at Capital One Was Let Go. Is Your IT Job Safe?
If you have been on LinkedIn lately, you noticed the Agile layoffs at Capital One. Approximately 1100 employees were let go from the Agile group within its technology department. The bank said in a statement that instead of having “distinct roles focused on agile delivery,” its existing engineering teams and product managers will “share accountability for agile ceremonies, routines, and practices.”
The layoffs at Capital One, along with recent big tech layoffs, is a sign that the IT labor market is tightening due to recession fears. Up until now IT positions have been safe from layoffs.
If you work in IT or if you have an Agile position, should you be concerned by the layoffs at Capital One? Could this be the beginning of a Tsunami that’s coming to wipe out IT and Agile groups? Below are my thoughts.
Nobody knows what will happen with the economy in 2023. Most economists believe that the US will go into a recession. The federal reserve is still fighting their battle against inflation. Interest rates will remain at their current rate or higher until inflation hits the fed target rate of around two percent inflation. The current inflation rate is 6.5%. I expect consumer spending to continue to decline, and unemployment to go up.
If a recession hits, no jobs are completely safe, even in the usually protected area of IT. As we’ve seen with Capital One, Agile employees may be more vulnerable than others.
Agile IT Employees
Why are Agile employees vulnerable? In recent years, there was an Agile craze. Companies hired for a variety of full time Agile specialists. This includes Agile coaches, trainers, and managers. With an economic slowdown, companies like Capital One are asking, do we need all these Agile employees? Being a consultant and an advocate of Agile delivery, it pains me to say it, but Capital One is onto something. I’ve consulted for many large companies and I’ve seen how overhead can occur in the Agile space. I’m not implying that the people who were let go deserved to be. I feel for them. My point is that companies hired too many Agile employees.
The good news is that even though CIO’s are now being asked to do more with less, most IT jobs should remain safe. Cyber security for example is one area that will not be touched due to its ever growing importance. Software engineers in areas like cloud, data, automation, cyber security and machine learning have nothing to fear.
IT Consulting Outlook
On another positive note, the outlook for IT consulting remains strong for the year. Vice President of Gartner IT research, John-David Lovelock, said “Enterprises are recognizing that they are no longer the employer of choice and that more IT will have to be done by external resources”. Gartner expects spending on third-party IT consulting is set to rise this year 11.9% (WSJ). Consulting could be a good opportunity for Agile employees who get let go.
Only time will tell how the economy will play out for the rest of 2023. The layoffs at Capital One showed us that IT jobs aren’t as safe as they once were, particularly for Agile employees. If the economy continues to slow, I would not be surprised if more companies follow in Capital One’s footsteps by reducing their Agile IT employee footprint.
About the Author: Mike MacIsaac is a principle Agile IT program management consultant for MacIsaac Consulting.
One response to “The Entire Agile IT Group at Capital One Was Let Go. Is Your IT Job Safe?”
Well written Mike!