Fears of layoffs as Facebook parent Meta reportedly announces hiring freeze

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says tech company aims to ‘plan somewhat conservatively’ and will ‘further restructure’

Meta employees have been warned of potential layoffs after the Facebook parent company announced on Thursday it would freeze hiring and “further restructure”, Bloomberg News has reported.

In company communication with employees, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg cited the uncertain macroeconomic environment for the changes. The announcement comes after several tech companies have been forced to slash headcount in recent months, as advertisers trim spending in anticipation of a recession.

“I had hoped the economy would have more clearly stabilized by now, but from what we’re seeing it doesn’t yet seem like it has, so we want to plan somewhat conservatively,” Zuckerberg told employees during a weekly Q&A session, Bloomberg News reported.

The social media company had cut plans to hire engineers by at least 30% this year, Reuters reported in June. The company had confirmed hiring freezes in broad terms in May, but exact figures have not previously been reported. Meta declined to comment but shared a statement made in a July earnings call, in which Zuckerberg said restructuring would be more of a priority this quarter.

“Our plan is to steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year,” he said. “Many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas, and I wanted to give our leaders the ability to decide within their teams where to double down, where to backfill attrition, and where to restructure teams while minimizing thrash to the long-term initiatives.”

Zuckerberg also said on Thursday that Meta would reduce budgets across most teams, and that individual teams will have to resolve how to handle headcount changes, the report added.

The tech industry has been suffering through a slowdown in recent months, following a spike of success that accelerated during the pandemic. Amidt a broader global economic downturn, rising interest rates, and regulatory struggles, many tech companies are slowing or stopping hiring.

Google parent company Alphabet announced a hiring freeze effective starting July 20 and Apple said it would begin to slow hiring starting in 2023. While other companies have only announced hiring freezes or slowdowns, most have avoided using the term “layoffs”. If Meta’s restructuring results in layoffs, the company would be the the first of the major tech giants to do so since the economic downturn began.

Reuters contributed to this report


Kari Paul and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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