Zuckerberg’s Meta to lay off another 10,000 employees
Restructuring, as part of the company’s ‘Year of Efficiency’, also sees 5,000 unfulfilled job adverts closed
Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is laying off another 10,000 people and instituting a further hiring freeze as part of the company’s “Year of Efficiency”, the chief executive announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The restructuring, which also sees a further 5,000 unfilled job adverts closed without hiring, comes less than six months after the company announced another wave of 11,000 redundancies. At its peak in 2022, Meta had grown to 87,000 employees globally, with a substantial portion of that hiring occurring since the onset of the Covid pandemic.
“This will be tough and there’s no way around that,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blogpost. “Over the next couple of months, org leaders will announce restructuring plans focused on flattening our orgs, canceling lower priority projects, and reducing our hiring rates.”
Restructuring and layoffs in Meta’s tech groups are expected in late April and in business groups in late May.
The end goal of the restructure is “to improve organizational efficiency, dramatically increase developer productivity and tooling, optimize distributed work, garbage collect unnecessary processes, and more”, Zuckerberg said. He highlighted issues including managers with very few staff to oversee and projects he said do not justify the organizational overhead to support them.
“A leaner org will execute its highest priorities faster,” he added. “People will be more productive, and their work will be more fun and fulfilling. We will become an even greater magnet for the most talented people. That’s why in our Year of Efficiency, we are focused on canceling projects that are duplicative or lower priority and making every organization as lean as possible.”
Zuckerberg’s note also hinted at a reversal of the company’s moves to promote engineers working from anywhere they want. “Our early analysis of performance data suggests that engineers who either joined Meta in-person and then transferred to remote or remained in-person performed better on average than people who joined remotely,” he said. “Engineers earlier in their career perform better on average when they work in-person with teammates at least three days a week. I encourage all of you to find more opportunities to work with your colleagues in person.”
Meta’s stock rose sharply on the news of layoffs, up 5.82% from its open despite turbulence related to the collapse of three tech-focused banks in the last week. In a research note from analysts Jeffries earlier this month, more layoffs had been recommended. “We believe more headcount reductions are needed to offset the last two years of excess hiring,” it said.
More than 100,000 tech workers have been laid off in the first three months of 2023, according a tally kept by TechCrunch, including 12,000 across Alphabet, the parent company of Google, 2,000 at PayPal, 18,000 at Amazon and 10,000 at Microsoft. Twitter has also let go of thousands of staff, in a series of rolling layoffs sparked by Elon Musk’s October acquisition of the company.
But there was no sign of Zuckerberg changing course on one of his most controversial decisions in recent years: plowing billions of dollars annually into the “metaverse”, a vaguely defined virtual world that is so central to his vision of the future that he renamed the company after it.
“Our leading work building the metaverse and shaping the next generation of computing platforms … remains central to defining the future of social connection,” Zuckerberg said in the blogpost announcing the layoffs. Shortly before the company’s November layoffs, some of Meta’s biggest shareholders had called for Zuckerberg to bail on the project, given the fact that even optimistic projections would not see any investment pay off for more than a decade. Instead, he insisted last year that “our long-term vision for the metaverse” was an example of a “high-priority growth area”.
With this round of layoffs, however, the founder and chief executive has bowed to pressure slightly, repositioning the metaverse as just one of a number of investments and instead focusing on the current trend in the tech sector: artificial intelligence. “Our single largest investment is in advancing AI and building it into every one of our products. We have the infrastructure to do this at unprecedented scale and I think the experiences it enables will be amazing,” he said.