Data Insights for Tech Startups

Startup staffing levels

December 12, 2023

In this edition of Pilot Insights, we examine startup headcount.

We looked at 433 companies in's dataset and charted headcount levels over the past 2.5 years. Turns out, we're back to the same headcount level as February 2022.

This contraction is the result of a bunch of things: (a) less new hiring, (b) not backfilling employee attrition when it occurs, (c) the layoffs we saw in 2022 and 2023, and (d) a greater reliance on contract/flexible labor—why hire a full-time employee for the role if you can instead have the flexibility of an external firm?

And for the data nerds in the audience: yes, this is looking at the same 433 companies over this time period. Companies that were started after July 2021 don’t appear in this dataset, and companies that went out of business in this timeframe also don’t appear.

Now, for your thoughts: will companies remain this lean through 2024, or will headcount bounce back?


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