LinkedIn is having a moment thanks to a wave of layoffs
New York CNN —
In a normal year at this time, a typical LinkedIn feed might be full of posts about year-end reflections on leadership and career goals and suggested life hacks for the year ahead. coming up – possibly with a few posts from CMOs offering brand strategy advice forever.
Those posts are still there. But also many other topics related to job hunting, offers of support for friends and colleagues who have been laid off, and advice for overcoming career obstacles in an uncertain economic environment.
Some LinkedIn users affected by the recent layoffs have formed groups on the site aimed at providing assistance, coordinating the signing of exit papers, and helping to contact them for new jobs. For example, a group of LinkedIn employees affected by the November layoffs at Facebook’s parent company Meta now has more than 200 members. Even bosses who are being fired have turned to LinkedIn to explain themselves and seek support or advice, as a marketing CEO did in a post along with a tearful selfie last year (with mixed results).
While the first year of the pandemic was marked by widespread layoffs in low-wage retail and service jobs, the last few months have been marked by something else: the prospect of a crisis economic. While the overall job market remains strong, there have recently been a spate of layoffs in the tech and media industries — which happen to be a major component of the user base of LinkedIn. Suddenly, the normally staid professional network became both a vital lifeline for recently laid-off workers and a surprisingly vibrant social platform.
According to research firm Sensor Tower, the LinkedIn mobile app was viewed 58.4 million times globally via the Google Play and Apple app stores in 2022, a 10% increase over the previous year.
The number of posts on LinkedIn that mentioned “open for work” increased by 22% in November compared to the same period last year, according to data provided by the company. LinkedIn says the rate of users adding connections has also steadily increased over the past year compared to the previous year, a sign that users have been more active on the platform.
The increase in usage appears to have been good for LinkedIn’s business. According to parent company Microsoft’s latest earnings report, the platform saw revenue growth of 17% year-on-year in the three months to September. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told analysts in an October conference call that LinkedIn is seeing “record engagement” among its 875 million members, with growth accelerating particularly in international markets.
Some of LinkedIn’s momentum may predate the layoffs. “There was an upward trend [LinkedIn use] from the pandemic,” said Jennifer Grygiel, an associate professor and social media expert at Syracuse University. “You had to maintain social distance and we were in quarantine and people were working remotely, so there was a change in networking opportunities in the real world.”
LinkedIn has risen to the occasion—and now it could be another one.
Layoffs aside, the social media landscape has had a volatile year. Facebook and Instagram have been criticized by users for wanting to convert their services to TikTok. TikTok has been criticized over concerns that user data could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. And after the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk late last year, the platform was criticized for turning into a potential refuge for its most rebellious users.
But LinkedIn is still LinkedIn – and at this moment, when fears of an impending recession and career concerns are at the fore, LinkedIn may be just what the digital world needs.
Grygiel said many people working in media or academia are probably now looking for a place other than Twitter to build and engage with professional communities. And while emerging Twitter alternatives like Mastodon have experienced a growth spurt, they still don’t have the same kind of network effect that comes with the broad user base of an older platform.
LinkedIn in recent years has focused on cultivating influencers who regularly post content on the site, potentially giving users more reasons to visit. And the platform expanded its Learning section, which offers video courses taught by various industry experts, which the company said saw a 17 percent increase in hours spent in November when compared to a year before. 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 have come from competing social networks such as Twitter.
After Twitter’s mass layoffs in November — which saw half the company shut down, followed by more layoffs and resignations — many former and remaining employees turned to LinkedIn for support, community, and new ones, rather than the platform they had built to look for opportunities.
A group of Twitter employees created a spreadsheet of the company’s laid-off employees and recruiters hiring for other companies, and used LinkedIn to facilitate registrations. Another pair of former Twitter employees set up a system to connect job seekers with recruiting professionals willing to volunteer to offer free resume review and interview preparation services that they promoted on LinkedIn.
“We totally understand how scary and overwhelming the job hunt can be… While we can’t guarantee where your next opportunity will be or when it will arrive, we can provide some guidance so you’re ready for that opportunity when it arises.” said Darnell Gilet, a former senior technical recruiter at Twitter who helped coordinate the effort, in a LinkedIn post.
Gilet, who was hit by mass layoffs on Twitter in November following Elon Musk’s takeover, told CNN last month that about 28 different recruiters and talent acquisition professionals had agreed to participate in – scheme, and that he himself, with almost two Dozen places spoke to those who seek from shortly after his release with help and advice. He said that LinkedIn is the obvious place to promote the service.
“Chaos creates opportunity for someone, doesn’t it?” Gilet said. “People are being laid off and you have this recession that you’re waiting for, the ideal place… that has the biggest opportunity for growth would be a platform that is focused on careers like LinkedIn.” So it makes perfect sense.”