We’re beginning to learn what Meta’s “year of efficiency” means in practice: fewer employees.
Yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Meta plans to lay off 10,000 employees, just four months after it laid off 11,000 staff members. That round of layoffs, impacting 13% of Meta’s workforce, represented the biggest job cuts in the company’s history.
Not only is Meta laying off 10k employees, but it’s also closing 5,000 open roles. This is not a company that wants to onboard many people right now.
Why is that?
Meta is looking to reduce costs as part of what Mark Zuckerberg calls the “year of efficiency.” Last year was “a humbling wake-up call,” Zuck said, citing economic uncertainty and increased competition (aka TikTok) for denting the company’s ad revenue.
But Meta made plenty of unforced errors, too. And by dubbing 2023 “the year of efficiency,” it’s acknowledging that previously, things were not very efficient.
That starts with hiring. Meta has been criticized for growing its headcount so rapidly that many employees had nothing to do.
- In a viral TikTok video, one former Meta employee said, “we were just sitting there” and “you had to fight to find work.”
- A report in Wired argues that Meta’s headcount got bloated due to “ghosts in the machine”—employees who were brought on to launch new products and stayed on the payroll even when those products failed.
Putting the recent layoffs in context: Even after shedding 21,000 jobs, Meta will still have a higher headcount than it did before the pandemic. In the boom times of 2020 and 2021, it hired more than 27,000 employees.
Zoom out: While the US labor market remains strong, layoffs have spiked in 2023. Companies announced 180,713 job cuts in January and February—the most to start any year since 2009, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. About one-third of the layoffs took place at tech companies.—NF