Meta and Google are cutting staff.  Just Don’t Mention Layoffs.

Meta and Google are cutting staff. Just Don’t Mention Layoffs.

In response to stagnant growth and intense competition, Meta META -0.53%

The executives of Platforms Inc. talking about cost cuts, hiring freezes and “ruthless prioritisation”. One word the company didn’t use: layoffs.

But Meta has quietly begun to push out significant numbers of staff by reorganizing departments and giving affected employees a limited window to apply for other roles within the company, according to current and former managers. managers who are familiar with the matter, as a measure that will achieve staff cuts while it lasts. contribute to the mass issue of pink slips.

The reductions are expected to be a prelude to deeper cuts, with Meta looking to cut its costs by at least 10% within the next few months, according to people briefed on the company’s plans. While some savings will come from cuts in overhead and consulting budgets, the people said, much of it is expected to come from reduced employment.

In response to questions, Meta spokeswoman Tracy Clayton referred to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s statement in July that the company would have to redistribute resources toward corporate priorities as the business is under pressure.

Changes to the Big Tech team

“We have been public about the need for our teams to move to meet these challenges,” said Mr Clayton. He said the period given to displaced employees to apply for new jobs is a way to retain talent that Meta might otherwise lose. He declined to say how many employees were affected by the recent moves.

The company has been cutting its guidance for operating expenses since the third quarter of last year but has not previously suggested it would reduce headcount through other means than natural gaming.

Among some Meta employees, the process of reapplying for jobs within an internally limited window is known as a kind of human resources purgatory they call the “30 Day List.”

Meta, like last year the name of Facebook’s parent company, has a practice of terminating employees in their roles if they are unable to find a new job internally within a month. Many other companies also make efforts to reassign employees whose groups have been closed or restructured. At Meta historically, it was usually only employees who were deemed undesirable who failed to land new jobs. Now, say affected employees and managers, workers with good reputations and strong performance reviews are being pushed out on a regular basis.

Meta reported that it had 83,553 employees at the end of the second quarter, an increase of 32% from the previous year.

As part of its own cost-cutting measures, Alphabet inc

GOOG -0.32%

Google has also required some employees to apply for new jobs if they want to stay with the company. Last week, Google told about half of the more than 100 employees at the company’s startup incubator, Area 120, that they would have to find other jobs at the company within 90 days, people familiar with the matter said. decision.

Google typically gives employees 60 days to apply for other roles at the company if their jobs are cut, although Area 120 employees typically get more time if their projects are canceled, people familiar with the process said.

In March, more than 1,400 Google workers signed a petition demanding that the company extend the typical 60-day period to 180 days for a group of more than 100 employees in the cloud computing division, citing the “barriers to transfer they face many workers. “

A Google spokesperson said that nearly 95% of employees who expressed an interest in staying with the company found new roles within the notice period. Alphabet had 174,014 employees at the end of the second quarter, up 20.8% from the previous year.

In Silicon Valley, the staff reductions have been significant after the largest companies have hired at a breakneck pace through the pandemic. In May 2021, Tom Allison, head of the Facebook app, wrote a memo titled “Why Hiring Is So Hard Right Now?” Mr Allison bemoaned “a huge supply and demand imbalance between our recruitment needs and talent availability.” With the engineer shortage most acute, the company was hiring more recruiters, he wrote, but even those were hard to find.

As the economic climate cools and the digital-advertising market shrinks, the language from some prominent tech executives is now very different.

“Realistically, there are probably a lot of people in the company who shouldn’t be here,” Mr. Zuckerberg said at the company’s town hall in June. Separately, the company’s head of engineering issued a call for managers to identify coasting employees and put them on improvement plans in advance of their termination.

The memo’s harsh phrasing sparked a lot of ridicule and anger on the company’s internal forums, according to posts seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Meta’s share price is up more than 56.6% so far in 2022, and the company’s market value has fallen more than $685 billion since the company’s September 2021 peak as of Tuesday’s close.

Google has been more resilient but the search giant’s share price is also down 27.3% over the past year. In July, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Google would slow hiring for the rest of the year and urged employees to be “more entrepreneurial.” Mr. Pichai said at a conference earlier this month that he wanted the company to be 20% more productive, without providing details on how he would measure the improvement.

In the first quarter of 2022, the productivity of US workers fell by the steepest drop in 74 years. WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath explains why productivity is central to the economy, and why big impressions are hard to come by. Illustration: Reshad Malekzai

Jump Inc.

among the outliers in publicly announcing layoffs. The company said last week that it would cut about 20% of its staff after increasing its headcount by about 65% from the end of 2020.

“We must reduce our cost structure to avoid significant ongoing losses,” CEO Evan Spiegel said in a memo to staff. He said the company was launching an opt-out talent directory to help departing employees find work outside the company.

Silicon Valley continues to be a competitive talent market, so finding ways to relocate employees within a company can be beneficial, said Allison Rutledge-Parisi, senior vice president of people at Justworks, a professional staffing services company.

“It would be ridiculous for a company to send a group of people they know, who have succeeded, who have relationships with them, who have helped them, summarily without thinking of a methodology that would find them another place and another home . within the organization,” she said.

There are also potential downsides to having employees compete for a limited number of internal jobs, including hits to productivity and morale, said Dave Fisch, chief executive of career site Ladders. “There’s going to be a lot of talking, there could be a lot of playing and finger-pointing that naturally starts to happen,” Mr. Fisch said.

At Meta, there’s a lot going on for re-employees.

“I’m a quick learner who likes to take on a challenge and this job shows, someone who isn’t afraid to put herself out there,” the Meta data scientist wrote on an internal forum last month, where she said she had she looking for a new job. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and I’d be kicking myself if I left without exploring every avenue I could.”

Write to Jeff Horwitz at jeff.horwitz@wsj.com, Salvador Rodriguez at salvador.rodriguez@wsj.com and Miles Kruppa at miles.kruppa@wsj.com

Copyright © 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.