How Product Designers can stay strong and be ready to face the challenges?
Dear readers, in this edition of Shapesift newsletter, I'll be delving into the current state of layoffs in the industry and the unique challenges faced by product designers.
This article popped in my mind yesterday after hearing the news of Google’s massive 12000 employees laid-off. My linkedin feed was exploded with similar posts and sad to see such happenings.
The technology industry has been hit hard by layoffs in the past 8 months due to various factors. Top tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Twitter, and Meta have all announced layoffs as well. Fast-growing startups and scale-ups have also sent a significant number of their workforce home.
Product designers and design-specific functions have been particularly vulnerable to re-orgs and layoffs! 😿
Why we Designers are vulnerable to Layoffs?
Design is not always seen as a business-critical factor in many companies, unlike developers.
The designer-developer ratio is often taken into consideration when downsizing happens.
Design systems make it relatively easy to roll out more executional tasks and product managers can build flows and designs on their own.
Companies find it easier and cheaper to outsource design tasks in plug-in, plug-out methods.
What can Product designers do?
Stay informed about the company's financial situation.
Stay up-to-date with industry trends and ensure skills are relevant and in demand.
Foster good relationships with management and cross-functional teams.
Be proactive in finding and proposing new revenue-generating opportunities for the company.
Diversify skillset to learn coding skills, product management, or data analytics to become a strong design resource.
Practice outcome-driven product design approaches instead of output-oriented design.
Automate manual design tasks and focus on influencing business goals and growth.
Continuously improve the design system and ensure it has a designer dependency to stay live and better.
Focus on data-driven approaches and ensure design goals are achieved and bring impact quantitatively in possible scenarios.
Show the value design brings to the company by presenting the before and after of product design's role in shaping a feature or task.
While we product designers cannot control layoffs, fair practices at work can create the severity and importance of product design to leadership and decision-makers. Diversifying skillset and showing the value design brings to the company can make designers less vulnerable during hard times.
From my personal experience, I was never laid off or fired from jobs and I dont think it will continue in the future even as one cannot predict the future. But we have to be ready for the worse in life and some level of preps will always help us navigate through the difficult times.
If you’re a designer who lost job recently, feel free to write me a mail or inbox me on Linkedin. I will help you reach some of the best recruiters who might help you land your next job. Take care of you physical and mental well being dears.
Until next time
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