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Tech Layoffs in 2024 and the Impact on the Salesforce Job Market Demand

Jonathan

2023: A Year Many Would Prefer to Forget

The story of 2023 was dominated by one stark reality: layoffs. It was a record-breaking year with over 260,000 tech job losses, as reported by Layoffs.fyi. Moving into 2024, there was a sense of cautious optimism. With inflation easing and talk of falling interest rates, there was hope that perhaps the worst was over.

illustration  representing layoffs from tech companies illustration by Talent Stacker

A Rocky Start to 2024

Despite beginning the year on a note of optimism, major tech players like Google, Microsoft, eBay, SAP, and Salesforce quickly made headlines with substantial layoffs in January, totaling over 23,000. As we've passed the midpoint of the year, the trend has persisted, and the layoff count has risen to over 74,000 across 255 companies.

Understanding the Persistent Layoffs

The tech giants, once seen as invincible in sectors like cloud computing—such as Salesforce, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet—are experiencing a slowdown in revenue growth. This downturn has prompted Amazon to reduce roles in their cloud unit, while Google and Salesforce have also continued to make cuts.

illustration of group of salesforce professionals during the Tech Layoffs of  2023 and 2024

Talent Stacker Outlook on Salesforce

At Talent Stacker, we have a vested interest in the economic news and outlook, particularly concerning Salesforce. As an educational and career-focused platform, we help individuals launch and advance their careers within the Salesforce ecosystem. We are deeply invested in monitoring the shifts and turns in Salesforce's corporate strategies and understanding how these changes affect the workforce, especially for our students and professionals looking to navigate this field.

The Salesforce Layoff and Hiring Cycle

Earlier this year, Salesforce announced the reduction of approximately 700 employees, about 1% of its global workforce. This followed a significant cut last year, aimed at correcting pandemic-induced overhiring—an issue not unique to Salesforce but prevalent across the tech industry. Despite these layoffs, it’s important to note that Salesforce is not simply downsizing but strategically realigning its workforce to better match its current and future business needs. This includes making new hires in strategic growth areas, showcasing a dynamic shift rather than a straightforward contraction.

Salesforce Employee Count Over the Years Salesforce’s global workforce has seen significant changes over the past few years. According to Macrotrends:

  • In 2024, Salesforce's total number of employees was 72,682, reflecting an 8.45% decline from 2023.
  • In 2023, Salesforce had 79,390 employees, a 7.95% increase from 2022.
  • In 2022, the number was 73,541, marking a 29.92% increase from 2021.
  • In 2021, Salesforce employed 56,606 people, a 15.52% increase from 2020.

These fluctuations highlight Salesforce’s dynamic growth and adaptation strategies in response to market conditions.

illustration represents how Salesforce is interconnected in all world's major companies and has "Sticky-ness" because of that

The Broader Picture: Enhanced Stability in Salesforce's Market Position

While recent layoffs across the tech sector have stoked concerns, it's important to recognize these shifts as part of the normal business cycles, particularly as companies navigate post-pandemic economic adjustments. Unlike consumer-driven tech giants such as Tesla or Meta, Salesforce operates under a business model where its core strength lies not within direct consumer interactions but through deep integrations within other businesses' operations. This "business-to-business" (B2B) model is crucial in understanding Salesforce's resilience.

Salesforce's software is entrenched in its clients' daily operations, making the platform exceptionally "sticky" — once implemented, the cost, both in terms of time and resources, of switching to a different system is prohibitively high. This provides Salesforce with a durable competitive advantage, as the switching barriers are significant compared to companies that rely on direct consumer loyalty, where switching costs are typically lower and options more abundant.

Most Salesforce administrators work not for Salesforce itself but within a myriad of firms across various industries that rely on Salesforce technologies. This disperses the risk and ensures that Salesforce professionals are integral to the operational success of diverse enterprises, further embedding Salesforce’s presence across the business landscape.

Moreover, Salesforce continues to be a profitable entity, actively investing in growth areas like AI and cloud services. These investments are not just about expanding capabilities but also about fostering a robust ecosystem where innovation is continuous and the demand for skilled Salesforce administrators remains high.

This strategic positioning starkly contrasts with companies whose business models hinge directly on the fluctuating consumer preferences and economic conditions. Salesforce’s model of integrating deeply with business processes insulates it and its workforce from the immediate shocks felt by consumer-dependent tech companies.

illustration shows how Salesforce Company Economics trickles down to ecosystem that relies on it illustration by Talent Stacker

What Does This Mean for the Salesforce Ecosystem?

Despite the 'stickiness' There is a trickle-down effect on the rest of the ecosystem. Fewer products and licenses being sold has meant less work for Salesforce consultancies and contractors, and cost-conscious buyers have been slowing down revenue growth for ISVs and AppExchange companies.

Salesforce companies operating in the ecosystem haven’t been immune from layoffs either, with plenty of ISVs being forced to cut jobs in 2023 (although, as far as I’m aware, these cuts haven’t been as present in 2024).

But it’s not all bad news! While it’s not uncommon to hear about the odd Salesforce consultancy going out of business, many are still growing and thriving. Salesforce is still moving forwards, slowly but surely, adding a healthy +$3B to the Salesforce economy each year, which is a huge catalyst for more spending in the ecosystem.

Navigating the Salesforce Ecosystem

In this landscape, the outlook for Salesforce professionals is not just about finding a job; it's about securing a career in a field where growth and innovation are embedded in the fabric of its industry. This positions Salesforce professionals advantageously, making them highly valued by companies that rely on this technology to drive their businesses forward.

Illustration showing hidden career opportunities with Salesforce visualized as treasure map

Guidance for Newcomers to Salesforce

If you're considering a career as a Salesforce administrator, you might be surprised to learn that amidst current economic uncertainties and tech industry layoffs, this could secretly be the best time to dive in. On the surface, the timing may seem less than ideal, but a closer look reveals a hidden opportunity ripe for the taking. Let’s unpack why this period of apparent instability is, paradoxically, an ideal moment to launch your career in Salesforce:

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  1. Unprecedented Market Dominance: Despite a global slowdown in economic growth, Salesforce continues to expand its influence and customer base. Unlike other companies that may be shrinking or losing money, Salesforce has merely experienced slower growth, not a decline in its operations or customer engagement. Today, more businesses than ever before rely on Salesforce to drive their operations, underscoring an urgent and growing need for skilled Salesforce administrators to manage and optimize these complex systems.

  2. Recognized Value of Salesforce Administrators: Companies are increasingly aware of the critical role that skilled Salesforce admins play in optimizing their Salesforce platforms and driving business efficiency. This heightened recognition is translating into substantial career opportunities for those who can navigate the platform’s intricacies and leverage its capabilities to benefit their employers.

  3. A Robust and Rewarding Learning Curve: Starting a career in Salesforce comes with challenges, mainly due to the platform’s complexity and breadth. However, these challenges are matched with significant rewards. The learning curve ensures that once you master the platform, you become a pivotal part of any business that uses Salesforce, capable of making impactful changes and driving strategic decisions.

  4. High Demand for Skilled Admins: With Salesforce’s market dominance more pronounced than ever, the demand for administrators to spearhead implementations and optimize systems is at an all-time high. This demand is not limited to basic management tasks but extends to integrating advanced, AI-enabled solutions that are becoming increasingly prevalent within Salesforce’s product suite.

  5. Advantages for Entry-Level Talent: For those new to the field, the current market conditions create a unique advantage. As companies look to maximize the efficiency of their Salesforce investments while managing costs, there is a strong incentive to hire skilled but affordable administrators. This dynamic creates a wealth of opportunities for new professionals, making now an opportune time to enter the field.

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  1. Certifications and Hands-On Experience: Acquiring Salesforce certifications and gaining practical experience remain some of the most effective ways to enhance your marketability and career prospects. These qualifications not only bolster your resume but also equip you with the skills necessary to tackle real-world challenges, making you a valuable asset to potential employers.

In summary, if you are ready to embark on a journey as a Salesforce administrator, the present moment offers a hidden gem of opportunity. By focusing on skill acquisition, certification, and practical experience, you can position yourself to take full advantage of the ongoing demand in this robust field.

Advice for Current Salesforce Professionals: Leveraging Growth for Advancement

If you're already navigating the Salesforce ecosystem, the current landscape of technological evolution and heightened business reliance on Salesforce presents a golden opportunity for career growth and enhancement. Here’s how you can capitalize on this transformative period:

  1. Specialize and Diversify: As Salesforce continues to broaden its capabilities, particularly with new technologies like AI and machine learning, now is the time to deepen your specialization in high-demand areas. Focus on niches such as advanced automation, AI integrations, or specialized cloud solutions. Specializing can make you an indispensable asset to your organization and elevate your profile within the Salesforce community.

  2. Engage Continuously with the Community: The Salesforce ecosystem thrives on community engagement and shared knowledge. Regular participation in Salesforce webinars, forums, and user groups not only keeps you updated on the latest developments but also helps in networking with peers. Engaging with the community can open doors to new opportunities, provide insights into industry trends, and enhance your understanding of best practices.

  3. Contribute to the Ecosystem: One of the most effective ways to solidify your standing within the Salesforce community is through contributions. Whether it’s sharing your expertise in blog posts, speaking at conferences, or offering solutions in forums, contributing actively can significantly boost your visibility and establish you as a thought leader in the field.

  4. Pursue Continuous Learning: The dynamic nature of Salesforce, with its regular updates and new feature releases, demands ongoing education and skill refinement. Embrace continuous learning through official Salesforce certification courses, third-party training programs, or self-study. Keeping your skills sharp and up-to-date is crucial for adapting to new tools and technologies as they become integrated into the Salesforce platform.

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  1. Innovate within Your Role: Look for opportunities within your current role to innovate and implement new Salesforce features that can drive efficiency and productivity. Initiating projects that demonstrate the tangible benefits of your Salesforce expertise can not only lead to immediate business impacts but also bolster your case for promotions or role enhancements.

  2. Network Strategically: Expand your professional network by connecting with other Salesforce professionals, industry experts, and potential mentors. Networking can open up new career opportunities, offer insights into industry movements, and provide support as you navigate your career path. Make strategic connections at Salesforce events, online forums, and community meetups to enhance your career trajectory.

By proactively enhancing your skills, engaging with the community, and strategically navigating your career path, you can harness the opportunities presented by the current shifts in the Salesforce ecosystem. This period of technological investment and integration is ripe with potential for those ready to take their Salesforce career to the next level.

Insights for Those Affected by Layoffs

If you've recently been affected by layoffs, remember that your skills and experience in Salesforce are still in high demand. The "stickiness" of Salesforce in businesses around the world creates consistent needs for skilled professionals to manage and optimize these systems. Use this time to refine your skills, possibly expanding into new areas that are growing within the ecosystem, such as Salesforce's AI functionalities or custom app developments. Additionally, consider freelance or consulting roles as flexible ways to maintain income while exploring new opportunities. The resilience of Salesforce in the tech landscape can be a key factor in your swift professional recovery and continued career growth.

  1. Stay Positive About Your Skills: The tech sector's growth indicates that your skills are still valuable.
  2. Leverage Market Trends: Use the ongoing hiring and market dynamics to your advantage in your job search.
  3. Strategic Career Moves: Align your future career plans with the industry trends and the reasons behind the layoffs to enhance your job prospects.

Land Your Dream Job

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We help you turn a challenging situation into a transformative opportunity. Leverage this moment to:

  • Land your dream job
  • Start your freelance business
  • Launch and grow your independent consultancy

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Looking Ahead: Opportunities and Optimism

Predicting exact future layoffs or hires is challenging, but the trend for Salesforce points towards stabilizing its workforce through a performance and productivity-driven culture. For current and aspiring Salesforce professionals, staying informed and proactive in skill development is crucial to leveraging upcoming opportunities and navigating potential challenges.

Understanding Salesforce's strategic direction, alongside broader tech industry trends, helps professionals make informed career decisions and seize opportunities as they arise. At Talent Stacker, we remain committed to providing insights and guidance that align with the current economic landscape and job market trends, ensuring our community is well-prepared to meet the future head-on.