Mark Zuckerberg told employees that Facebook owner Meta has cut its plans to hire engineers by at least 30% this year, as he warned them to prepare for a deep economic slowdown.
Zuckerberg told staff in a weekly question-and-answer session that this could be one of the worst recessions we’ve seen in recent history.
Zuckerberg noted that Meta has lowered its target for hiring engineers in 2022 to between 6000 and 7000, down from the initial plan to hire about 10,000 new engineers.
The company confirmed last month that hiring had been halted in general terms, but exact numbers had not previously been reported.
In addition to reducing hiring, Zuckerberg said the company has left some positions vacant in response to attrition and increased pressure on performance management to exclude employees who are unable to meet targets.
Realistically, Zuckerberg said, there is likely to be a group of people in the company that shouldn’t be here.
The social media and technology company is preparing for a difficult second half of the year, as it copes with macroeconomic pressures and the impacts of data privacy on its advertising business.
Chris Cox, chief product officer, wrote in a note that appeared on the company’s internal discussion forum ahead of the question-and-answer session, that the company should prioritize more and run smaller, fiercer and better implementation teams.
“I must stress that we are going through dangerous times and headwinds are fierce,” Cox said. We need to get work done flawlessly in a slower growth environment, where teams shouldn’t expect massive influxes of engineers and new budgets.
A Meta spokesperson said: “The purpose of the memo was to build on what we have said publicly about the challenges and opportunities we face.
The note represents the latest rough predictions to come from the company’s executives. Meta wants to cut costs across much of the company this year in the face of slowing ad sales and user growth.
Tech companies across the board have scaled back their ambitions in anticipation of a possible US recession. But the decline in Meta’s share price was more severe than that of competitors such as Google and Apple.
Meta reduced recruitment plans
The world’s largest social media company has lost about half of its market value this year. This came after Meta reported that daily active users across Facebook experienced a quarterly decline for the first time.
The austerity campaign comes at a difficult time. It coincides with two main strategic axes. One aims to reframe its social media products around discovery to beat the competition from TikTok. While the other is betting on augmented and virtual reality technology.
“Meta needs to increase the number of graphics processors in its data centers fivefold by the end of the year to support discovery,” Cox said.
The discovery feature requires additional computing power for artificial intelligence to highlight popular posts across Facebook and Instagram in users’ feeds.
Cox explained that interest in the Reels product was growing rapidly. And users doubled the amount of time they spent on Reels year after year, both in the US and globally. About 80% of the growth since March has come from Facebook.
User interaction with Reels enhances the end result. As a result, it is important to boost ads in Reels as quickly as possible.
Zuckerberg told investors in April that he views Reels as a key part of the discovery engine’s vision.
He explained at the time that moving to short video could slow growth in the short term. But it would gradually increase revenue as advertisers become more comfortable with the format.
Meta also saw the potential for revenue growth in business messaging and in-app shopping tools, which could mitigate problems from Apple-led privacy changes .
The company’s hardware division is focused on the successful launch of the mixed reality headset in the second half of the year. These sunglasses are codenamed Cambria.