Should You Worry About a Coming Edtech Winter?
Tracking layoffs and the questions to ask before you take a job
Thank you for reading the EdSkipper, Skip’s newsletter about skipping from education to education-aligned careers. Every Saturday, I send out a list of curated remote jobs. Premium subscribers receive two additional emails a month with industry insights and advice to help you apply more competitively to the jobs you’re passionate about.
Apple famously has not laid off staff in the last year or so, even as it seems every tech company around them did.
Because they also didn’t ramp up their hiring in the last few years to respond to market conditions. In other words, Apple evaluated their business needs and didn’t let external circumstances drive their business model in a way that would prove unsustainable a few years down the road.
I start a discussion on edtech layoffs with a non-edtech company (albeit one that does have exposure in the education space) to show that sector results does not necessarily drive individual company results. We can be concerned about coming layoffs and also be confident in the overall health of particular companies or particular markets.
Edtech as an industry grew quite rapidly during the pandemic — pre-pandemic estimates of the market’s growth were achieved 5 years earlier as districts quickly adopted technology. Now the question is whether districts will maintain this technology or (more likely) what they’ll keep and what they’re going to trim.
For the rest of this newsletter, I’m going to share my new layoff tracker for edtech, discuss how edtech funding impacts layoffs, recommend questions you can ask during an interview to assess a company’s growth trajectory, and walk you through a typical layoff process so you can assess your comfort level with the future of the edtech market.
Hope you enjoy the newsletter!
What’s in this issue:
Layoff Tracker (free to everyone)
Funding Risks in the Current Edtech Environment (Premium subscribers only)
Questions to Ask in an Interview to Evaluate a Company’s Stability (Premium subscribers only)
Aside from reading posts about layoffs on LinkedIn, it’s really hard to track layoffs in edtech and at education-adjacent companies. As we near the end of federal Esser-funding, we need accurate and transparent information about the state of the market.
I’ve modeled this project on Layoffs.fyi, a fantastic crowd-sourcing database that’s widely referenced. While it’s a great resource, I’ve frequently found that I know about edtech layoffs that never get added to this form.
Tracking layoffs within our single industry allows us to gain real insight into the overall market — over time we’ll be able to see if companies with certain missions are flailing more than others, for example.
And, of course, we’ll be able to track specifically how losing federal funding impacts edtech in real time.
But the biggest reason I see for having an industry-specific layoff tracker is that we as educators and former educators need to build our professional networks. That means making sure that we’re sharing important information that can impact someone’s career path and edskip.
You can view the current Edtech Layoffs database here but you can also help me add more info and kickstart the crowd-sourcing.
At the moment, you’ll see the info has gaps. That’s because I’ve culled it from a number of different sources.
So let’s improve the database and keep it updated!
How can you help with the Edtech Layoffs project?
if you have more information on any current entries, shoot me an email with the info so I can update the existing entries
if you know of any layoffs in 2023, share them here (I know I’m missing some)
if you see any companies that are on this list and have had multiple layoff periods (outside of Covid/2020 which I think is enough of an outlier to leave off), share those too
keep an eye out for future layoffs and encourage people impacted to share the information with us
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