Facebook owner Meta set to lay off 490 staff from Irish division

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: George Frey/Bloomberg

Adrian Weckler and Hugh O'Connell

Meta says it expects to lay off 490 additional staff from its Irish division on top of 350 job losses already announced.

It means that the tech giant will have let almost a third of its Irish staff go during the current tech downturn.

The layoffs are for full-time staff in finance, sales, marketing, analytics, operations and engineering.

It is understood that the final number of redundancies will be subject to a collective consultation process, which is mandatory for mass layoffs under Irish law.

It will leave the firm’s staff headcount at around 2,100. Meta also employs thousands of non-staff contractors, although numbers here have also been impacted by layoff announcements from Meta’s contracting partners, including Accenture.

The cuts are the result of an announcement made by Mark Zuckerberg in March, where layoffs of 10,000 worldwide were flagged.

The company has informed the government and state agencies of the proposed cuts.

Mr Zuckerberg said that once the new round of layoffs are complete, the company hopes to resume hiring.

“After restructuring, we plan to lift hiring and transfer freezes in each group,” he said.

He said that the new round of layoffs were to further its goal of “flattening” the organisation’s structure.

In a previous blogpost on the proposed cuts, he also blamed the global economy, saying that sluggish continues could continue for “many years”.

“Last year was a humbling wake-up call,” he said. “The world economy changed, competitive pressures grew, and our growth slowed considerably. We scaled back budgets, shrunk our real estate footprint, and made the difficult decision to lay off 13pc of our workforce.

“At this point, I think we should prepare ourselves for the possibility that this new economic reality will continue for many years.

"Higher interest rates lead to the economy running leaner, more geopolitical instability leads to more volatility, and increased regulation leads to slower growth and increased costs of innovation.

"Given this outlook, we'll need to operate more efficiently than our previous headcount reduction to ensure success. In the face of this new reality, most companies will scale back their long term vision and investments.”

Mr Zuckerberg said that the company, which encompasses Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, was currently seeking “organisational efficiency, [to] dramatically increase developer productivity and tooling, optimise distributed work, garbage collect unnecessary processes, and more”.

It comes after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier today said that he expected to see “significant job losses” affecting Meta's Irish operation.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that it was important that the tech firm is allowed to make that announcement and engage with its staff and that he wouldn’t say “too much about it here” as it would be unfair and not appropriate.

“Obviously my thoughts are with the staff who are affected, and their families and I want to assure them that we will engage with the company to make sure that they are given a decent severance package or redundancy package, which we would expect all employers to do," Mr Varadkar said.

He said that workers who are made redundant could receive support from the State in terms of job search and education training “if they need it”.

Despite the news of significant job losses, the Fine Gael leader said the latest statistics from the CSO pointed out that 2.6 million people were now working in Ireland, “more than ever before”, with an increase in the number of people working in the tech sector by 4,000 compared to this time last year.

The Taoiseach was responding to Labour leader Ivana Bacik who told the Dáil that reports of further layoffs at Meta’s Irish operations was “distressing news for so many”.

Ms Bacik said there was a repeated pattern in tech companies whereby employees were hired on masse and then fired in large numbers for “the sake of so-called efficiency”.

Today's News in 90 seconds - May 24th