An important number crypto firms have been laying off employees in recent months in an effort to keep their businesses afloat. But while the big players put talent back into the pool, startups have an opportunity to capture it.
Both recruiters and talent heads shared their thoughts with TechCrunch on what that means and how talent should navigate the current hiring environment.
“Hiring in a bear market is unique in that those looking to enter the space during recessions are more likely to be passionate about, understand and believe in the industry long-term,” Zack Skelly, head of talent at the investment firm focused on Dragonfly cryptocurrencies, he told TechCrunch. “They’re in it for all the right reasons other than just needing to find another job or hoping to financially benefit from a hype cycle.”
Reports surfaced on Monday that Gemini, a cryptocurrency startup that has mingled with now-bankrupt Genesis, is laying off 10% of its staff, according to internal messages displayed by The Information. It wasn’t even the first time Gemini had fired staff. In July, the company executed a second round of layoffs, just seven weeks after cutting 10% of its workforce due to “turbulent market conditions,” TechCrunch reported.
Gemini is one of many large cryptocurrency companies that are cutting back. Earlier this month, Coinbase and Crypto.com both laid off 20% of their jobs as the companies tried to weather the cryptocurrency market downturn.
While layoffs are happening at major crypto companies, this is just one segment in a larger downsizing of the tech workforce: Salesforce, Amazon, Meta, Alphabet, and Microsoft have all laid off in recent weeks.
“More broadly, this means access to an even larger pool of proven and capable talent,” Alchemy recruiter Gus Brewer told TechCrunch. “Many of the companies facing layoffs are known for their extremely high standards when it comes to recruiting, which should definitely be considered when evaluating the new talent available.”
Some crypto projects and startups are revising their hiring plans to capitalize on this influx of talent, Skelly said. “However, while a larger pool of applicants may make it easier to fill the overall headcount, I’ve heard some founders say it’s been harder to find those who are truly mission aligned. There are more qualified resumes appearing – yes – but there is also more to filter through when it comes to intangibles.
But it’s important to note that not all cryptocurrency industries are hiring aggressively. “There are very minimal opportunities in trading right now,” Dan Eskow, founder of web3 talent agency Up Top, told TechCrunch. “There doesn’t appear to be any action. Whether it’s developers, traders, researchers, there’s a lot to do.”
Eskow focuses on helping talent find work in early stage projects or companies. “You don’t see a lot of layoffs [for startups] because many wait until they absolutely have to. [ … ] Within the DeFi space, there is a much higher job stability situation,” he noted.
It’s a slow period now, Wachsman’s head of talent and personnel operations, Tyler Feinerman, told TechCrunch.
“January is typically a slower time of year for hiring, but macroeconomic factors have definitely exacerbated conditions,” Feinerman noted. “February to April is typically the hottest time for the job market, so while things may remain a little slower than usual, I think we can expect to see some shoots on the horizon.”
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