December 7, 2022

Severance in offer letters?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Neither Market 2: Electric Boogaloo

This wasn’t on my 2022 recruiting bingo card:

????Individual contributor job seekers asking for severance package details in their offers.

3 times in the last couple weeks. No, it’s not a sweeping trend. But it’s a lot more than the 0 times I saw it in my preceding <number redacted; can’t admit how long I’ve been doing this> years.

(Check my LinkedIn if you must.)

It’s common practice at the exec level. But for the doer class? It just doesn’t come up. (Exec comp disparity is another rant for another day.)

Yet another symptom of the Neither Market. Unemployment is holding firm at 3.7%. (Non-farm payrolls even beat expectations last week.) But the high profile Big Tech layoffs keep coming.

When some sectors hold strong and others crumble, then you see a friend lose their gig with no cushion:  You don’t want that to be you. (Or it was you and you don’t want it to happen again.)

But I hope I don’t speak this trend into existence further. Because real talk: I don’t think it’s realistic.

Severance is normally given because:

1. The company cares.

2. The company cares about their ability to attract talent in the future, if word gets out they didn’t give severance.

3. The company cares about their ability to guard company secrets with an NDA to avoid lawsuits.

Even the most pessimistic of us have to realize why layoffs happen in the first place: there’s not enough money.

Going insolvent isn’t an option. There may not be any guaranteed levels of severance to give in the future, at scale. Committing to keeping enough cash reserves for this could – ironically – trigger layoffs. Or other cost cutting.

I know, I know. Greed. I left that out. It certainly plays a part. At least in some cases. Don’t @ me.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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