Commentary: Meta layoffs reveal a deeper truth – tech exceptionalism is dead

1 week ago 27

NEW YORK: During the tech sector’s pandemic-era boom, employee headcount became one of the reigning barometers of success. Quarter after quarter, alongside traditional metrics like revenue growth and operating margin, companies across Silicon Valley reported to analysts and investors the thousands of workers they had added to their ballooning payrolls.

A prime follower of this more-the-merrier hiring approach was Facebook parent company Meta, which for the last three years grew its employee base at a dizzying pace. Between the end of 2019 and its peak headcount in 2022, the company nearly doubled in size to some 87,000 employees.

The hiring sustained its ambitious (and in some cases seemingly ill-fated) projects like its big bet on the metaverse. But it also let the company take an aggressive stance in the talent wars as it scooped up skilled tech workers rather than watch them migrate to competitors.

Recently, a former Meta employee who was laid off in the first round of cuts, said in a video posted on rival platform TikTok that it “seemed like Meta was hiring us so other companies couldn’t have us and then they were just kind of hoarding us like Pokemon cards.”

But now in a serious case of corporate whiplash, Meta Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday (Mar 14) said that the company would slash an additional 10,000 employees on top of the 11,000 in cuts announced in November 2022.

Taken together, that’s a nearly 25 per cent reduction of its workforce from the company’s peak just six months ago. Investors sent the stock up 7.25 per cent Tuesday...

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