Meta is set to start notifying thousands of employees about the future of their jobs this week, as the company’s advertising revenue stalls and investors remain unconvinced by huge investment in the metaverse.
Industry sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal on condition of anonymity, said the company is currently planning the layoffs and has told employees to cancel non-essential travel beginning this week.
During the pandemic, Meta went on something of a hiring spree, with its global headcount growing to 87,000 people at the end of September. However, with Facebook’s advertising business shrinking by AU$300 million in APAC alone last quarter, the business seems to have become bloated.
A spokesperson for Meta declined to comment on reports of the layoffs. They did, however, refer to an earlier statement from chief exec Mark Zuckerberg saying that the company would focus its investments on a “small number of high priority growth areas.”
“That means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year,” Zuck said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call last month.
“In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today.”
These reported job cuts would mark the first broad round of redundancies in the firm’s history. In September, WSJ reported that Meta had been planning to cut expenses by at least 10 per cent, including through some staff reductions.
“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Zuckerberg told employees at a companywide meeting at the end of June.
In 2020-1, Meta added 27,000 more employees, before adding a further 15,344 in the first nine months of this year. However, at the same time, Meta’s stock price has dropped by more than 70 per cent this year. Investors have been spooked by the company’s unwavering belief in the metaverse and changes to Apple’s privacy software that forces consumers to opt-in to device tracking, rather than opting out.