The edtech industry, once a beacon of opportunity, is facing a challenging time as Byju’s, India’s largest edtech company, grapples with layoffs and financial troubles. In the past six months alone, the edtech company has let go of nearly 2,500 employees as part of its restructuring efforts, with close to 1,000 job cuts happening recently. As a result, thousands of former Byju’s employees, who were unfortunately caught in the layoff storm, are now seeking their next career move elsewhere.
According to data compiled by specialist staffing firm Xpheno exclusively for ET, there are currently over 21,000 Byju’s employees actively searching for new opportunities, a staggering 7x increase from the 2,000-3,000 count just a month ago. This data includes both existing and former employees of Byju’s. What’s more surprising is, despite this massive surge in available talent flooding the Indian job market, the edtech industry is experiencing a hiring slowdown.
The question arises: why is there a dearth of job opportunities in India’s edtech sector, even with a large pool of experienced employees ready to join immediately?
The root cause of this unexpected hiring slowdown in edtech companies can be attributed to the prevailing economic uncertainties, including the looming recession and a funding slump that has cast a shadow over the IT sector. According to PwC’s Startup Deals Tracker, the venture funding in edtech startups in India declined 54% YoY, from a remarkable $4 billion in 2021 to a mere $1.8 billion in 2022. What’s even more surprising is that the funding amount for 2022 dipped below the levels seen in 2020, a year when the total investment in edtech reached $2.2 billion. However, Byju’s accounted for 50% of the overall fundraising in 2022, raising $915 million, followed by upGrad which raised $225 million.
Consequently, the industry has experienced a wave of challenges, including mass layoffs, hiring freezes, and bidding farewell to the cherished work-from-home culture. As a result, there is a lack of ample job opportunities in the edtech sector, leaving a sizable number of talent pool in a challenging predicament, with the odds stacked against them in their search for new career prospects.
It’s a fascinating paradox where talent abounds, yet the industry finds itself navigating through turbulent waters.
“With nearly 50% of employees currently active in the job market, it may be a rough patch for this talent pool to get an opportunity now,” Xpheno’s workforce research head Prasadh MS said.
Impact of Sudden Layoffs on Byju’s Employees
In June 2023, BYJU’s laid off 1,000 employees. This fresh wave of job cuts came amidst the company’s ongoing legal dispute with lenders in the US over a hefty $1.2 billion term loan B. The news sent shockwaves through the organization, leaving many employees feeling uncertain and anxious about their futures.
A senior manager at Byju’s, who spoke to Reuters, revealed that morale within the company has reached an all-time low. Every employee, without exception, perpetually keeps a job portal on their laptop screen. It’s a silent but powerful testament to their collective yearning to escape the company’s clutches before the fateful moment arrives—an overnight order to pack up and go. The situation is so bleak that employees are now sitting with their managers and actively searching for new job opportunities.
One such individual who experienced the painful sting of this sudden layoff was Arpit Gupta, a Retention Manager at BYJU’s. Overwhelmed by the sudden loss of his job, Arpit took to LinkedIn to share his heartfelt story, questioning where he went wrong despite pouring his heart and soul into his work. He emphasized his unwavering commitment, always going above and beyond the call of duty, never adhering to the conventional 10 to 8 work culture, and making himself available round the clock for the betterment of the company. However, despite his dedication, he was blindsided by the management’s demand for an immediate resignation.
Arpit’s heartfelt narrative sheds light on the emotional toll experienced by employees affected by the layoffs, highlighting their deep sense of loyalty and the profound impact such decisions can have on their lives.
Insights From Edtech Founders
Anshuman Das, the co-founder of Careernet, has dropped a bombshell, revealing that a staggering 60% of employees from a leading edtech firm are actively seeking new job opportunities. However, their expedition has hit a rather unfortunate roadblock as the job market seems to be playing hard to get, offering only a meagre number of positions to satiate the hunger of these ambitious professionals.
Akshay Chaturvedi, the founder and CEO of LeverageEdu, weighed in on the situation, shedding light on the transformed hiring landscape. He exclaimed that the hiring market has changed compared to the previous year, with companies prioritizing profitability and building sustainable organizations.
In the midst of this challenging scenario, LeverageEdu has adopted a strategic approach, engaging in need-based hiring. Chaturvedi proudly shared that they recently welcomed aboard a battalion of 250 fresh recruits in a bid to strengthen their ranks. A majority of these eager new joiners were successfully plucked from LeverageEdu’s thrilling annual placement drives at top-notch institutions like Delhi University, VIT, and Amity, where the competition was fierce and the talent pool was electrifying. Not stopping there, the company has been primarily hiring lateral candidates from consumer tech companies in Delhi-NCR, as their skills align well with LeverageEdu’s requirements.
Meanwhile, another edtech titan, Vedantu, has taken a slightly different approach. Their HR head, Simriti Goel, divulged that Vedantu is cautiously expanding its team, but with a twist. They are currently in the market for adept salespeople and inspiring educators who possess the mystical ability to captivate young minds. Goel revealed that their hiring pace remains steady and predictable, with the majority of their efforts aimed at replacing existing positions, ensuring that their ship sails smoothly.
However, amidst all the job-seeking turmoil, Xpheno has dropped some captivating statistics. According to Xpheno, a whopping 70% of the talent pool searching for jobs consists of employees with less than four years of experience, eagerly venturing into the professional wilderness. As if that weren’t enough, the mid-level talent with four to eight years of experience represents 15% of the available pool. Senior professionals with over 10 years of experience make up an intriguing 10% of this dynamic talent pool, ready to unleash their expertise upon the world.
Prasadh from Xpheno mentioned that more than half of the talent pool falls within the salary range of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Clearly, these warriors are not settling for anything less than a well-earned treasure trove.
As the industry grapples with the repercussions of BYJU’s layoffs and the company’s ongoing legal battles, it remains to be seen how these events will shape the future of both the employees and the organization itself.