A number of major crypto companies in recent months have laid off employees in an effort to keep their businesses afloat. But as big players drop talent back into the pool, startups are getting the opportunity to snatch them up.
Recruiters and talent heads alike shared their thoughts with TechCrunch on what this means and how talent should navigate the current hiring environment.
“Hiring in a bear market is unique in that those who seek to join the space during downturns are more likely to be passionate about, understand and believe in the industry long term,” Zack Skelly, head of talent at crypto-focused investment firm Dragonfly, said to TechCrunch. “They’re in it for the right reasons versus simply needing to find another job or hoping to financially take advantage of a hype cycle.”
On Monday, reports emerged that Gemini, a crypto startup that intermingled with the now-bankrupt Genesis, is laying off 10% of its staff, according to internal messages viewed by The Information. This was not the first time Gemini laid off staff, either. In July, the firm 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 major crypto firms cutting back. Earlier this month, Coinbase and Crypto.com both axed 20% of their jobs as the firms tried to weather the downturn in the crypto market.
Even though layoffs are happening to major crypto firms, that’s just one segment in a broader resizing of tech workforces: Salesforce, Amazon, Meta, Alphabet and Microsoft have all conducted layoffs in recent weeks.
“More broadly, this means access to an even larger pool of proven, capable talent,” Gus Brewer, a recruiter at Alchemy, said to TechCrunch. “Many of the companies facing layoffs are known for their extremely high standards when it comes to recruiting, which should definitely be a consideration when evaluating newly available talent.”
Some crypto projects and startups are revising their hiring plans to capitalize on this influx of talent, Skelly said. “Yet while a larger pool of candidates may make it easier to fill headcount overall, I’ve heard some founders say that it’s been harder to find those who are truly mission-aligned. There are more qualified resumes appearing — yes — but there’s also more to filter through when it comes to the intangibles.”
But it’s important to note that not every crypto sector is hiring aggressively. “There’s very minimal opportunities in trading right now,” Dan Eskow, founder of web3 talent agency Up Top, said to TechCrunch. “There doesn’t seem to be any action whatsoever. Whether it’s developers, traders, researchers, there’s not much to be done.”
Eskow focuses on helping talent find jobs in early-stage projects or companies. “You don’t see a ton of layoffs [for startups] because many wait until they absolutely have to. [ … ] Within the DeFi space, there’s a much higher job stability situation,” he noted.
Now is a slow period, Tyler Feinerman, head of talent and people operations at Wachsman, said to TechCrunch.
“January is typically a slower time of year for hiring, but macroeconomic factors have certainly exacerbated conditions,” Feinerman noted. “February to April is typically the hottest period for the job market, so while things might remain a little slower than usual, I think we can expect to see some green shoots on the horizon.”