At present, there is a phenomenon happening in the tech industry. We have and are currently observing big tech companies implementing hiring freezes, revoking job offers, and laying off employees. According to Layoffs.fyi, a website that tracks the number of employees that have been laid off in the tech industry, over 67,000 employees have been off thus far in 2022.
If you’re an aspiring Product Manager or a professional who wants to shift into the role, it could be worrying especially when the ones that are implementing the freezes and layoffs are big players – Coinbase, Google, Meta, Netflix, Twitter, and more.
Although experts say that the United States did not fall into a recession during the first quarter of the year, it’s apparent that big tech companies are changing their strategies and buckling down for the worst. But, what does this mean for those who might want to go into Product Management? We answer the question today.
What is a Product Manager?
A product manager is responsible for the overall conceptualization of a product or an added feature to an existing product. This means a Product Manager or PM has to be involved in all stages of product development, from feasibility studies to building and shipping, and product feedback.
The responsibilities of a PM vary. It will depend on the company, the product the PM is working on, and on what level the PM is on in terms of his or her career. For example, a PM with a customer-facing product will have different responsibilities from a PM who is working on a more technical product. As for the PM level, an entry-level PM position will have very different responsibilities than a Senior PM which is a mid-level position.
Why Do Companies Need Product Managers?
A company that offers any kind of product or service typically has a Product Manager in their organization to focus on building something useful. As the product is being developed, it is a PM’s job to ensure that everything and everyone is aligned to the goals that have been set.
This can translate to different tasks like communicating with the stakeholders, conducting market research, gathering user data, and so on. Managing all of these processes plus handling the different teams involved will fall on the Product Manager.
The specific responsibilities of the role will differ from company to company. It will also depend on the type of product or service the company is offering. However, what a company expects from a PM is the same across the board:
- Manage the development process of the product;
- Communicate and collaborate with different teams to ensure that the development is aligned with customer feedback;
- Oversee the entire project and manage the development according to the scope, time frame, and allotted cost;
- Work with the different teams as a product leader;
- Identify challenges and come up with innovative solutions to challenges;
- Meet forecasted development goals;
- Manage and build data pipelines;
- Measure performance KPIs and evaluate experiments;
- Define the product success criteria; and
- And more…
Companies would likely want a candidate who has strong Product Management skills, sufficient technical expertise, and in-depth knowledge of the specific industry the company is in.
As you can see, there is a lot that a PM needs to do. When the job is done right, the existing features of the product can be expanded and it could outperform its competitors.
Are Tech Companies Still Hiring PMs?
Before we answer that question, let’s dive into the different reasons why the hiring freeze and the layoffs are happening, and why it’s happening mostly in the tech industry.
It was no secret that during the height of Covid19, one sector that benefited from the circumstances the most was tech. We needed technology to adapt – from video conferences, food/grocery delivery services, and other tools that allowed us to function while staying in our homes. It’s industries like this that hired the most product managers during that time.
Today, because the pandemic is winding down, and almost everyone has fully adjusted to the new normal, it could be the same industries that could be inversely affected, especially now that a recession is looming.
It’s unclear yet if we are indeed going into a recession. Reports say that a recession did not happen during the first quarter, but it’s evident that tech companies are preparing to face the worst. The layoffs and hiring freezes could indicate that tech companies are rethinking their priorities.
Despite these, according to the Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, near-record numbers of people continued to quit and get hired into new tech roles in June. This result tells us that people working in tech have plenty of options as well as opportunities.
But how about Product Managers? Are companies still hiring PMs? According to CNBC, “tech workers are still well-positioned to look for a new job or land on their feet if they’re laid off.”
In short, companies are still hiring Product Managers because they are vital to a product’s success. More than ever, it’s critical for companies to focus on priorities as well as fulfilling the goals of the organization to survive and thrive through the downturn.
Tips for Product Managers Seeking Employment
Under these circumstances, finding a Product Manager job in tech could seem intimidating. So here are a few tips for those who are looking to break into the industry of Product Management:
Try Startups and Small Businesses
Because the cases are predominantly happening in big tech companies, you might find better job security with smaller businesses. If you’re a new Product Manager who wants to gain experience, you can try your luck by applying to startup companies.
Do Your Homework
When you’re in your PM interview, don’t be hesitant to ask hard questions about job security and the status of the company. For you to do this, you have to do your homework to get a feel of what the status of the company is.
Look Beyond Tech
There are so many more companies that are looking for Product Managers. If the pickings are slim in the tech sector, you may want to consider checking out Product Manager openings in other industries.
Try Something New
New PMs might be able to find new opportunities with remote work. Since the pandemic, more tech companies have adopted the work-from-home and remote work setup. In fact, tech is one of the first industries to do the shift.
Here are some companies that have remote Product Manager openings as listed on Indeed, a popular online job board:
Dell Technologies Consultant, Cloud Product Management & Strategy (Remote, US)
As an APEX Product Management Consultant, you will join an influential and highly visible team that identifies customer requirements and defines the roadmap for a modern cloud console that spans public, private, and hybrid cloud deployment models.
Affirm Senior Product Design Manager, Debit+
Affirm is looking for a senior manager of product design to support their existing products and build the next generation of products. The right candidate will have a breadth of product experience in conceptual designs, 0-1, and scale to grow with the passion and drive to change consumer finance for the better.
Global Payments Manager, Product Strategy
The Manager, Product Strategy is part of the Global Product team and will focus on delivering value by leading the vision, strategy, and product roadmap for a key element of the payments products.
Mayo Clinic Product Manager – Remote
The PM will be responsible for the strategic direction, planning, execution, monitoring, and delivery of profitable/high-value digital products and services as well as ensuring that the product supports Mayo Clinic’s overall strategy and goals.
Guardian Life Insurance Company Digital Product Manager – Google Analytics (Remote)
Guardian Life Insurance Company is looking for a strong candidate to join their fast-growing team as a Product Manager – Insights and Analytics, pending on experience and match. The PM will be working on optimizing user experience on guardiandirect.com across different product lines, driven by data, analytics, and insights.
These are just five examples of remote openings that you can apply to. A quick search online will get you more results, and perhaps make you realize that there are so many opportunities for PMs despite the economic downturn.
Although a recession is impending, there are still a lot of great opportunities for Product Managers.
Based on what we presented today, it seems like the PM role is still in demand. The downside to this is that competition is going to be stiff. Aspiring PMs should prepare for their job interview as well as they can.
For this, it can be an advantage to check out PM Exercises where you will find a Product Manager Interview Course along with 2000+ Product Manager Interview Questions with sample answers from our PM community.
The website has a proven track record, with Product Manager members getting accepted to companies like Meta and Google. Along with the prep course and database of questions, PM Exercises also has a Practice feature where you can find other product managers who are also prepping for their interviews.