Meta will freeze most hiring, Zuckerberg tells employees

In May, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg suspended hiring low-level engineers and data scientists.

In July, Zuckerberg warned employees to stick to an “intensive period” of 18 to 24 months, and asked managers to start identifying poor performers.

This week, he told his employees that the company will freeze hiring and reduce budgets across most teams in Meta, leading to layoffs in parts of the company that previously saw unchecked growth.

It was the latest sign of trouble for the company formerly called Facebook. Over the years, Meta has recorded record growth, impressing its investors with its ability to exceed financial expectations and generate revenue. But this year’s quarterly earnings reports have been less rosy, as Meta grapples with turmoil in the global economy as well as competitive and regulatory threats.

The hiring freeze was reported earlier Thursday by Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg made the announcement at his weekly question and answer session with employees. According to employees who attended the meeting, Zuckerberg said he had to plan carefully to reflect a decline in revenue at the company. Managers via Meta have been asked to reduce budgets, either by not filling vacant roles or by reducing existing staff.

One Meta employee, who asked not to be named because employees are not authorized to speak to reporters, said managers have already begun to identify low-performing employees by referring them to a “performance review” process. If employees do not find roles in other teams, they may lose their jobs in the company.

Meta declined to comment, but a company spokesperson referred a reporter to public statements made by Mr. Zuckerberg in July.

“Our plan is to steadily reduce headcount growth over the next year,” Zuckerberg said on his July earnings call with investors. “Many teams will shrink so we can divert energy to other areas.”

Meta has shown signs of slowing financially for most of the year as it makes a strong move toward introducing products to the fledgling Metaverse – an area that Mr. Zuckerberg believes is his company’s future but remains largely unproven.

In the most recent quarter, Meta reported a 1% decline in quarterly revenue compared to the same quarter a year earlier. It was the first time the social media giant’s revenue had fallen since it went public a decade ago.

Revenue for the quarter was $28.82 billion, down from $29.07 billion a year earlier. Profits were $6.69 billion, down 36 percent from the previous year. Wall Street analysts expected $7.04 billion in profit on $28.9 billion in revenue, according to data compiled by FactSet.

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