- Layoffs have made it easier to poach star AI talent, according to the CEO of Intuit.
- That’s despite a rush fueled by the success of ChatGPT, DALL-E, Midjourney, and other AI tools.
- Sasan Goodarzi has been bullish on AI since taking the helm of Intuit in early 2019.
Employment instability at the major tech firms is making it easier to poach star talent even when they still have jobs, according to Sasan Goodarzi, chief executive of software giant Intuit.
Intuit, whose software products include email-marketing service Mailchimp, tax-filing software TurboTax, and credit service CreditKarma, has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence since Goodarzi took the top job in 2019, succeeding longtime CEO Brad Smith.
Asked if AI hiring was more competitive thanks to the post-ChatGPT investment rush, Goodarzi told Insider in a March interview: “It’s actually become easier because of all the tech layoffs, because of the uncertainty the layoffs have caused. It’s getting people to raise their heads who wouldn’t.
“Looking back over the past six or seven months, it’s been far easier to find that type of talent — data and AI have been core to our strategy,” he added. “When we talk to engineers that understand AI, they see our investments, it’s actually easier.”
Industry executives warned last year that mass layoffs risked hurting the morale of workers who did keep their jobs and could put off potential talent from applying for roles in future. And tech employees currently worried about their “tenuous positions” are actively looking for more stable employment, two prominent business school professors, Dartmouth Tuck School’s Vijay Govindarajan and the University of Calgary’s Anup Srivastava, wrote in the Harvard Business Review in November.
Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon have conducted large-scale layoffs since the end of 2022, affecting around 70,000 workers collectively as they refocus on efficiency and profitability.
Goodarzi added that the uncertain environment is such that “it’s just easier to recruit folks that still have jobs.”
Intuit remains unusual compared to its peers going into 2023 by one metric: No mass layoffs.
The company had 17,300 employees, as of July last year, according to financial filings, up from 13,500 the prior year. A spokeswoman said the company has not conducted large-scale layoffs similar to other tech firms, and that the company had been “intentional” about how it had grown parts of its business.
For its fiscal Q2, Intuit reported net income of $168 million, up year on year from $100 million, on revenues of $3 billion, up year on year from $2.7 billion.
The spokeswoman declined to detail how many AI roles the company had hired over the past year, but said the firm uses the technology for millions of interactions with customers and to generate predictions. In an earlier interview with Insider in 2019, Goodarzi talked up AI and spoke about spending time shadowing Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, who spearheaded the firm’s multibillion-dollar investment with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.
“People laughed at the time, but I had shared that I believe, after electricity and the internet, AI would ignite global innovation in ways we could never imagine possible,” Goodarzi told Insider during his recent interview.