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Over the past several months, the pendulum of frantic hiring that is typical of an economic boom has swung sharply to headcount reductions, as the market appears to be moving to a slowdown. This swing is impacting startups and well-established businesses alike, across a multitude of sectors, industries, and stages of the company lifecycle – as corporate confidence and a focus on growth give way to economic uncertainty and fears of recession.

In the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the U.S. experienced sustained economic expansion throughout the decade of the 2010s. In the three years before the pandemic hit, many companies experienced a period of unprecedented growth and profits. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, in the face of plummeting revenue expectations, many companies laid off large segments of their staff to lower expenses and conserve financial resources. However, with the arrival of unprecedented government stimulus efforts and the COVID vaccines in early 2021, came a robust reopening of the economy and a need for companies to restaff as quickly as possible. Such massive hiring demand ushered in an environment of wage inflation even before the onslaught of resignations hit in mid-2021; companies looking to increase headcount found it equally challenging to retain top talent given the complicated employee-employer relationships created over the previous 12 years.

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