Meta started carrying out the last batch of a three-part round of layoffs yesterday (Wednesday 25th May).
The layoffs are part of a plan announced in March to eliminate 10,000 roles.
Meta earlier this year became the first big tech company to announce a second round of mass layoffs after showing more than 11,000 employees the door in the autumn.
Meta announced that the latest cuts were likely to impact about 490 employees at its international headquarters in Dublin, which amounts to almost 20 percent of its Irish workforce.
Downsizing efforts and impact
The cuts brought Meta’s headcount down to where it stood as of about mid-2021, following a hiring spree that doubled its workforce since 2020. Several employees working in teams such as marketing, recruiting, engineering, and corporate communications took to LinkedIn on Wednesday to announce that they were laid off.
The cuts have predominantly affected non-engineering roles, reflecting Meta’s focus on those who write the code.
Positive market response
Meta shares were up 0.5 percent in a broadly weaker market. They have more than doubled in value this year and are among the top performers in the S&P 500 index. The company’s cost-cutting drive and focus on artificial intelligence have contributed to its strong performance.
Mark Zuckerberg’s plans
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, announced in March that the bulk of the layoffs in the company’s second round would take place in three “moments” over several months, mostly concluding in May. He also mentioned the possibility of smaller rounds continuing after that. Zuckerberg pledged to restructure business teams substantially and achieve a more optimal ratio of engineers to other roles.
Impact on technology teams
Executives speaking at a company town hall revealed that even among cuts aimed specifically at technology teams, non-engineering roles like content design and user experience research were eliminated most severely. Approximately 4,000 employees lost their jobs in the April layoffs, following a smaller hit to recruiting teams in March.
Revenue challenges and investment
Meta’s layoffs followed months of waning revenue growth amid high inflation and a digital ad pullback from the pandemic e-commerce boom. The company has also been investing billions of dollars into its metaverse-oriented Reality Labs unit, which incurred a loss of $13.7 billion in 2022, and a project to enhance its infrastructure to support artificial intelligence work.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.