Layoffs break hiring pipeline for elite Big Tech college

10 months ago
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Eva Se did this is right. She enrolled at the highly competitive Bronx High School of Science in New York City and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied mathematics and computer science with a major in artificial intelligence. After her freshman year, she landed a coveted summer internship at Facebook, and was invited back to Menlo Park the following summer—traditionally a good sign that the student would be offered a full-time job later.

But in the summer of 2022, there are warning signs that Xie’s future may deviate from the intended trajectory. There were rumors at the company that The Meta, as it was now called, might impose a moratorium on hiring. Xie and her fellow trainees weren’t bothered, believing that the established process of selecting students from elite colleges was constant.

The interns were wrong. In a morning email last August, Xie and the rest of her prosperous cohort were among the first to be affected by a wave of tech hiring and layoff freezes that will require hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming months. The email stated that Meta regrets to inform them that, unlike in previous years, successful interns will not be offered a guaranteed full-time return to work before they return to school.

That fall, when Meta announced it was laying off 11,000 people, the company didn’t fire its successful interns. “They fired everyone who was just starting out, including those who got the highest marks during their internship,” Xie says. This included MIT alumni standing in front of her on a conveyor belt that has regularly brought new talent to the industry over the past decade.

In recent months, many former interns and recent graduates have been among the thousands laid off at big tech companies. This has prompted many would-be graduates like Xie, who once believed they could easily land a job at a top-tier company, to rethink the value of those companies, their own perspectives and, in some cases, what they want. from their career.

Meta spokesperson Andrea Beasley did not respond to WIRED’s questions about the internship program, instead pointing to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s blog post. announcement of layoffswhich states that the company has over-expanded during the pandemic.

Amazon, which took on about 18,000 interns in 2022, is considering cutting its class of interns by more than half. according to The newspaper “New York Times report. Amazon spokesman Brad Glasser told WIRED that the company is “excited” to welcome interns in 2023 but is still finalizing its plans. Google, which laid off 12,000 people in January, will be taking on interns next year but has slowed recruitment and won’t hire as many people as in previous years, according to Andrea Florence, director of Google Intern Programs.

Claire Ralph, director of career services at Caltech, where about 40 percent of alumni go on to work in tech fields, has counseled students worried about recent layoffs. “Caltech students are high performers, so they often get anxious. Of course, now they are most worried about the news,” says Ralph, who also lectures in computer science.

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