Oracle workers may find age, industry expectations are hurdles in job hunt

2 min read
(Image credit: Oracle)

Employees laid off from Oracle China appear to be a hot commodity for tech companies looking to hire, according to one recruitment platform, though desirability may be tempered by candidates’ ages as industry demands shift.

Recruiters searched online resumes for “Oracle” around 100,000 times on Tuesday, according to the online recruitment platform Boss Zhipin, an increase of 30% compared with a day earlier.

News broke earlier this week that the US tech giant would lay off around 1,000 employees in the China Research and Development Center (CDC). The center, which has facilities in cities including Beijing and Shenzhen, will reportedly close soon.

In a response sent to TechNode on Wednesday, Oracle China said as its cloud business continues to grow, it is carrying out a round of restructuring so as to offer Chinese business clients the best in cloud services.

However, employee protests signal that the US tech giant’s strategy is muddled. According to Chinese media, dozens of employees held a protest near the company’s Zhongguancun Technology Park offices in Beijing, carrying signs and banners saying that the layoffs were in fact a consequence of Oracle seeking to shut down its China operations entirely. Some of the fired employees, according to media reports, were from the cloud services team.

“It is regrettable to see them being fired in their middle age,” (our translation) Xu Dandan, founder and chairman of another Chinese recruitment service Lagou, said Thursday in a Weibo post. The average age of Oracle employees now looking for jobs on its platform was 37, he added, though they are senior engineers who are mostly graduates from prestigious universities and are “highly experienced with a strong background in technology.”

“However, it is not that easy to get a good position now as the bar has been raised at local internet firms,” (our translation) Xu said in a Weibo post, following a mass exodus of tech workers that left established multinational tech companies for Chinese internet firms in 2015 and 2016.

Work environments for Chinese tech workers are changing. The 996 workday, a term referring to working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, has gradually become an unwritten rule at tech heavyweights such as JD.com. Being eliminated by younger colleagues is another challenge. Rumors about Huawei clearing out workers above the ages of 34 have been widely circulated since 2017, though the company has denied the practice, reported Sina Tech.

The new developments in the Oracle’s massive layoffs is strikingly similar to Yahoo’s in Beijing four years ago. The company announced the closedown of its Beijing R&D center in March 2015, and its former programmers were enthusiastically welcomed by Chinese tech giants. Coffee shops near the Yahoo’s Beijing office were reportedly packed with HR managers from companies such as Baidu, JD.com, and Huawei, who were engaged in animated talks with candidates.

Recent comments indicate that Oracle is determined to compete in China. “If we let China’s economy pass us up, if we let China produce more engineers than we do, if we let China’s technology companies beat our technology companies, it won’t be long that our military is behind technologically also,” Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said in a Fox News interview in October.