Meta could be next to make significant job cuts worldwide

6 Nov 2022

Image: © ink drop/Stock.adobe.com

As the Government is set to meet with the IDA to discuss recent job losses at tech multinationals, the end may not yet be in sight.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that a major reduction in the workforce at Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, could come as soon as Wednesday (9 November).

Sources speaking to the publication have said that large-scale layoffs could impact thousands of employees.

As of 30 September 2022, Meta reported it had more than 87,300 employees worldwide, up 28pc year-on-year. About 3,000 people are employed by Meta in Ireland, across its European headquarters in Dublin, its Reality Labs team in Cork and its data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.

The rumours of restructuring come shortly after an earnings call in which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned that some teams could “shrink” in the coming year, and that the company headcount would either remain steady or contract by the end of 2023.

Earlier this summer, a recording of an employee Q&A with the CEO was obtained by The Verge. On it, Zuckerberg reportedly remarked: “There are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

Meanwhile, Meta’s stock has been tanking throughout the year following its 2021 company rebrand, when its focus shifted to the metaverse and both virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Reality Labs, the division of Meta which is responsible for VR and AR development, reported a loss of $3.7bn in the third quarter of 2022, up from a $2.6bn loss a year ago. This division has lost more than $9bn in 2022 alone, and outgoing Meta CFO David Wehner warned that the trend would continue into the new year.

Tech layoffs

If there is to be a major reduction of staff at Meta Ireland, the company will be expected to inform the Government in advance.

However, that was not the case with the recent mass job cuts at both Twitter and Stripe. Neither company informed the Department of Enterprise of their staff reduction plans.

In Ireland, employers who propose a collective redundancy must first hold consultations with employee representatives. They must also have a real business reason to make employees redundant and must use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant.

The penalty for not following this process can be up to €250,000. It can also lead to unfair dismissal claims and cases taken with the Workplace Relations Commission.

The Irish Times reported on Friday (4 November) that Stripe has entered into a 30-day consultation period with its Irish staff.

The highly publicised layoffs at Stripe and Twitter follow staff cuts at Snap, Twilio, Patreon, Intercom and Shopify, among others.

Intel has also confirmed that it is considering cutting jobs amid an ongoing slump in global PC sales.

This has given rise to concerns for the Irish jobs market, for which the tech sector has typically been a linchpin.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, could be meeting with IDA Ireland as well as Enterprise Ireland as soon as Monday (7 November) to discuss the threat of this trend to the country’s tech sector.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com