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Some Facebook Insiders Are Concerned That Layoffs Are Coming – Business Insider


  • A new hiring freeze has some people inside Facebook worried that layoffs are on the way.
  • One worker said the freeze is merely a stop-gap measure as executives “figure out priorities.”
  • Other factors, too, like vagueness from executives and the market downturn, are adding to concerns.

With a broad hiring freeze in place, some workers at Facebook are growing concerned that layoffs may be next.

The company told employees last week in memos seen by Insider it was enacting a hiring pause that would first affect many levels of engineers and would expand to impact “almost every team across the company.” 

“My guess is there are layoffs coming,” one employee told Insider. Some high-level managers are already “talking about re-prioritizing things,” the person added, leading them to expect the cancellation of projects and people being let go.

Certain elements of last week’s memos on the freeze also have people worried and trying to read between the lines, three employees said. Facebook’s chief financial officer, David Wehner, wrote that the company needs to hit “lower expense guidance,” which it recently reduced by some $3 billion. Other vague phrases, such as “re-prioritize work,” “reviewing head count allocation,” and calling the recent stock market downturn “a valuable forcing function,” also struck an ominous note with some staffers.

David Wehner, CFO Facebook, is seen standing in between Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, at the Allen & Company conference, on July 7, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

David Wehner, CFO Facebook, stands between Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga, and Mark Zuckerberg at the Allen & Company conference, on July 7, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


Wehner noted that he would share more details with employees “as we have them,” while Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s recruiting head, wrote that she was sharing “what we know so far” in her own note. That gave the impression to some employees that the freeze was sudden and the strategy for head count was still being developed.  

All of this, along with Facebook’s recent hiring spree and the continued slump in the company’s market value, has several staff bracing for layoffs. The social-media giant increased head count by 60% from the end of 2019 through 2021, according to an Insider analysis of regulatory filings. Since mid-November, the shares have plunged more than 40%. 

“The ‘hiring freeze’ is likely just to stem the tide of spending growth on new hires as they figure out priorities,” one of the employees said. The two other current employees expressed similar concerns, while noting that the company has said nothing about the prospect of layoffs thus far. The people who spoke with Insider asked not to be identified discussing sensitive topics. 

A spokesperson for Facebook, now called Meta, referred Insider to a statement given last week about the hiring freeze: “We regularly re-evaluate our talent pipeline according to our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period, we are slowing its growth accordingly. However, we will continue to grow our workforce to ensure we focus on long term impact.”

No plans for layoffs ‘at this time’

The spokesperson declined to comment further, but the company told the Wall Street Journal last week that it has not plans for layoffs “at this time.” 

Facebook remains highly profitable but spending has increased and growth has slowed, worrying investors. A run on hiring in what was a very competitive tech-job market has cost the company. It’s also spending billions of dollars to create the metaverse, an immersive digital world that will take at least a decade to emerge.

One manager-level employee who recently left the company said Facebook often reorganizes at the team level, and occasionally eliminates some roles. More actions like this are possible, even in the range of 1,000 people, but this person said a bigger layoff — something like a 10% reduction in its workforce — is “deeply unlikely.”

Another current employee agreed, citing how cash-rich Facebook is. This person sees new efforts to reduce spending, like the hiring freeze, and trimmed spending on Facebook’s Reality Labs division, responsible for metaverse projects, as a good sign. 

However, an advisor to major tech companies said he would not be surprised if Facebook went the route of layoffs in the coming months. Even the most historically successful and seemingly untouchable companies are unlikely to remain immune from the current downturn. And when companies enact layoffs, they “want it to have an impact,” he said, typically looking in the range of a 7% to 10% reduction in force, also known as a RIF.

“You do not want to undercut and then have to do it again,” the advisor said.

Are you a Facebook employee with insight to share? Got a tip? Contact Kali Hays at khays@insider.com or through secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267. Reach out using a non-work device. Twitter DM at @hayskali. Check out Insider’s source guide for other suggestions on how to share information securely.





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