Startup sector bands together to help recently laid-off workers

Startups working to connect job seekers with new career opportunities

The startup sector is pulling together in an effort to help recently laid-off tech workers find new jobs, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Those involved in the effort have worked diligently to aggregate lists of downsized workers, organizing virtual career events and resume reviews in response to recent layoffs. While their efforts are noble, those involved are likely to face a growing number of candidates as hiring continues to stall.

In a practice that started just before the pandemic but is now gaining momentum, a number of individuals within the startup sector have been circulating online spreadsheets with the names of laid-off employees at particular companies. As layoffs continue, the number of candidates needing employment continues to grow.

To accelerate the hiring process for candidates and employers, venture firm Torch Capital launched a tech-focused jobs portal in April. That portal now lists contact information for nearly 1,000 job seekers. To date, the portal has roughly 900 open roles.

“It’s a unique time to get unparalleled exposure to exceptional talent that normally takes months to find, or takes recruiters, or you have to poach,” Katie Reiner, an investor at venture firm Torch Capital, shared with the WSJ.

Torch Capital isn’t the only venture firm involved in this effort. Primary Venture Partners has been busy reviewing the resumes of over 300 New York tech workers. Meanwhile, First Round recently held a virtual networking event that connected startups with out-of-work engineers.

According to data tracker Layoffs.fyi, more than 360 startups have terminated over 36,000 employees since March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. While those numbers are alarming, the site warns it may have undercounted the number of displaced tech workers. 

Although staff reductions took place in a blink of an eye, the hiring process for many companies has been the opposite. Companies across the country have since implemented strict hiring freezes due to the virus’ impact, and tech has taken a big hit, as Glassdoor reports tech job openings in the US have dropped more than 20% between March 9 and April 6, 2020.

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