“This will be tough and there’s no way around that.”
That’s what Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said yesterday in a memo announcing that the company plans to cut 10,000 workers starting today.
The organization’s latest cull comes not long after its last big downsizing in November, during which Meta slashed more than 11,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce at the time.
Back then, Zuckberg said that the cuts were to “minimize the chance of having to do broad layoffs like this for the foreseeable future,” according to The Washington Post. “I obviously can’t sit here and promise you that nothing will happen in the future because it’s a very volatile environment,” he added. “But what I can say is that for where we are right now, that’s what I foresee.”
Apparently, Zuckerberg, who has proclaimed that 2023 would be a “year of efficiency,” did not envision that just four months later, the company would plan to eliminate almost the same number of people. Combined with last fall’s layoffs, the result is a 25% reduction in headcount.
It’s not yet clear what severance will be offered, but when the company conducted its November cuts, affected employees received 16 weeks of base pay plus two weeks for every year worked, as well as health insurance for six months.
The Removal of Recruiters
Notably, many of the initial layoffs during this round will impact recruiters. Zuckerberg wrote that in an effort to restructure and flatten the organization, Meta will be reducing hiring rates. “With less hiring,” he explained, “I’ve made the difficult decision to further reduce the size of our recruiting team. We will let recruiting team members know [today, Wednesday]. We expect to announce restructurings and layoffs in our tech groups in late April, and then our business groups in late May.”
Furthermore, the memo reveals that Meta expects to close around 5,000 additional open roles.
Once the restructuring is complete, which Zuckberg concedes may take up to a year in some parts of the org, the company will then lift hiring and transfer freezes.
The 2,200-word memo also outlines that the company plans to discontinue a slew of lower-priority projects, as well as convert many managers into individual contributors in an effort to flatten the organization. Numerous managers have only a few direct reports currently, so the goal will be for managers to have more subordinates, though generally no more than 10.
An Industrywide Plague
Meta is hardly the only tech firm trimming its staff. Giants and smaller companies alike — from Amazon, Intel, Google, and Salesforce to Spotify, Vimeo, and DoorDash — have been on a slashing spree over the past half year especially.
Layoffs.fyi indicates that since the beginning of last year, tech companies have shed more than 290,000 workers, more than any other industry. (Then, of course, there’s the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank to add to the woe.)
That companies will include recruiters in massive layoffs is understandable. But as Keirsten Greggs, founder of TRAP Recruiter, points out, “It seems like recruiters are often targeted disproportionately, which is one of the stupidest things you can do because when hiring eventually picks back up, you’ll end up facing really difficult challenges. You’ll have to hire enough recruiters, recruiting coordinators, people to manage onboarding, and other recruiting professionals to manage the volume. This will end up prolonging your hiring struggles.”
Rather than get rid of recruiting staff, Greggs recommends having them focus on work they otherwise had no time to do while previously having to fill an overload of roles. From getting paperwork in order to streamlining and enhancing processes Greggs suggests that “there’s a lot that recruiters can do to improve themselves and their departments so that they’ll be better prepared when hiring picks up.”
In the meantime, as Erin Sumner, a global director of human resources at DeleteMe, who was laid off from Facebook in November, told The New York Times, “People are entering a job market that is the worst I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of anger, and there’s the question many folks are asking: ‘How do you expect me to do work for the next two months while wondering if I will still have a job?’”
While many of Meta’s employees, particularly those in talent acquisition, may feel anxiety as a result of yesterday’s statement, investors are feeling more positively. Shortly after the announcement, Meta’s stock rose more than 6%.