When tech’s loss is “traditional” companies’ gain

Published Jun 29, 2023
Product teams and the work they do are becoming more and more critical for driving business growth.

For talent in tech, the prospect of layoffs has become far more than an abstract idea. Industry wide, tech companies have responded to persistent economic uncertainty and market pressure by laying off large amounts of staff. In the first half of 2023 alone, nearly 150,000 U.S. tech workers were let go. 

And yet as they find new opportunities, this talent has found that they are still in high demand—just not in the places they necessarily assumed. Right when tech companies are tamping down their workforces, businesses long regarded as “traditional” are racing to scoop up the talent. A new global study from Pendo and Product Collective finds that product management teams—comprising roles traditionally associated with technology companies—have increased in size by 9% in non-tech enterprises over the past two years. And to top it off, they’re projected to stay growing at the same rate. 

Why the scramble to scoop up tech talent? And why prioritize product management at say, a consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer, insurance company, or airline? At a high level, the answer is simple: These teams strengthen the business and its bottom line.

A business-critical function for driving efficient, reliable growth

As the business landscape evolves, product teams are becoming increasingly important to the greater org. Although these teams were originally more adjacent to engineering, with roles centered on shipping new software features, product managers have evolved into a strategic role for driving better business outcomes. 

Product teams today distill and analyze inputs and feedback from internal stakeholders, customers, and the market. In doing so, they identify the right products or features for a company to build in order to grow and maintain their customer base. More and more, product teams’ work has become tied to revenue, customer growth, and retention. With the pressure to find new ways to do more with less in the face of a looming recession, it’s an opportunity too important for companies to overlook.

Blurring the line between tech and non-tech companies

This is just one of the many ways traditional companies are adopting the tools, strategies, and tactics traditionally used by technology companies to efficiently scale and drive innovation and growth. And the trend signals a new reality about today’s business world: No matter what product you make or sell, the customers and prospects you target increasingly engage with your brand and offerings via digital channels. To compete effectively, you need to create the best digital experiences possible to continually surprise and delight your users.  

Tech companies may have been the first to put their product and product teams at the center of their business model, but as the findings of this new report show, “product-led growth” is becoming more and more synonymous with “business growth” as a whole. 

Want to learn more about how traditional companies are becoming more like tech ones? Get the full report here