Facebook’s parent company Meta’s global hiring freeze for most roles across the company will also apply to its Irish business, as the social media group battles an advertising slump and rising competition.
In an internal memo to staff seen by the Financial Times, Lori Goler, Meta’s head of people, wrote that, starting on Friday, the company would “pause sourcing candidates and will not make any offers until the freeze is lifted later this year”.
It is understood the same memo was sent to its Irish operations, where the company directly employs more than 3,000 people. An additional 6,000 people are employed at operations across multiple sites including Meta’s international headquarters in Dublin, Clonee data centre in Co Meath and Reality Labs in Cork.
In the memo, Ms Goler said that while some teams will still grow, each will individually have to decide how to prioritise projects and restructure in order to “ensure we can deliver against our top priorities” during the belt-tightening efforts. Internal transfers will also be frozen.
A slowdown in hiring had been signalled earlier this year, when chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the company planned to steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year. “Many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas, and I wanted to give our leaders the ability to decide within their teams where to double down, where to backfill attrition, and where to restructure teams while minimising thrash to the long-term initiatives,” he said on Meta’s last earnings call.
Meta declined to comment specifically on the hiring freeze, pointing instead to Mr Zuckerberg’s previous comments on the need to reduce staff growth.
Meta has also put the brakes on its campus development in Ballsbridge, pausing the fit-out of its Fibonacci Square building as the pandemic pushed staff to a more flexible work environment. The Fibonacci Square building is phase four of the project; Meta is currently completing phase three.
“As the home of our international headquarters, we remain committed to Ireland,” a spokesperson for Meta said. “As we re-evaluate our real estate requirements for a distributed-first workforce, we are pausing the fit-out of phase four of the Ballsbridge campus.”
Boom times for social media groups during the coronavirus pandemic have turned into a deep and broad stock sell-off this year as tough macroeconomic conditions prompted advertisers, Meta’s main source of revenue, to curb their spending.
The group has also faced rising competition from popular short-form video app TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance.
Since the third quarter of last year, the company has also brought down its guidance for full-year costs in 2022 — from between $91 billion and $97 billion to between $85 billion and $88 billion at its latest second-quarter earnings.
Meta has been trying to balance developing its short-form video product, Reels, in order to boost the popularity of its social platforms Facebook and Instagram, along with its efforts to build an entirely new digital avatar-filled virtual world called the metaverse.
“Each org leader is working through their exact plans for next year but it’s important to pause recruiting and not bring new people into teams while they do this work,” Ms Goler wrote on Thursday. “Providing this stability will make sure we don’t put people into roles that may change or disappear.”
Shortly before Ms Goler’s memo was posted on Meta’s internal messaging board, Mr Zuckerberg outlined the plans to staffers during an all-hands meeting.
Economic worries have weighed on other tech giants and their Irish offices. In July, Twitter said it was planning to scale back its Dublin office space, renting out one of the four floors in its European headquarters to a new tenant. However, at the time, Twitter said no jobs would be lost as a result of the move, and it was also planning to reduce its corporate footprint in other countries. The company previously announced it was pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles.
Google, which employs more than 9,000 people at its Dublin offices, has not opted for a hiring freeze. The company, which has around 4,500 direct employees and a further 4,500 contractors, said it was slowing its hiring and sharpening its focus on hiring for engineering, technical and other critical roles, while also working to improve productivity.
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn is also continuing to hire. “LinkedIn employs over 2,000 staff in Ireland and we are continuing to hire for key roles in our Dublin office,” a spokesperson for the company said.
While Irish-founded Intercom announced a small number of job losses in Ireland at the start of September, the company is still hiring for key roles in its Irish-based engineering hub.
However, other companies have fared less well in recent weeks. Patreon announced in September that it would close its Irish office, three years after opening it, with the loss of 80 jobs. US cloud communications company Twilio is also cutting back staff globally, shedding 11 per cent of its workforce in a move that will affect some of the 260 people employed in Ireland.
— Additional reporting by the Financial Times Limited