Meta, the parent company of Facebook, recently announced that it will lay off nearly 500 employees as part of its latest round of layoffs. This decision has come as a significant blow to the Irish tech sector. The cuts will impact around 490 full-time employees and will reduce Meta’s Irish workforce to just over 2,000.
The announcement has cast a dark cloud over an otherwise bright day for Irish workers as new job figures showed employment jumping 4.1% in the 12 months to Q1, reaching 2.6 million. This indicates that Ireland has overall weathered the tech storm. Minister for Employment, Enterprise, and Trade Simon Coveney stated, “This decision is part of global restructuring by Meta announced in March. The Irish economy remains balanced and strong with unemployment of 3.9%.”
Mr. Coveney had previously stated in February that Ireland is “over the worst” of tech job losses. However, this was before Meta’s latest round of cuts, which is one of the largest made by a tech firm since the start of the global slowdown in the sector that began in 2022. Some employees fear that there is no end in sight and that another round of cuts could be around the corner. “Anyone who didn’t get a severance email today knows they’re safe. But everyone safe is now wondering when the next round is and what we’ll need to get through it,” said a Meta employee who wished to remain anonymous.
This wave of redundancies is set to affect around 6,000 jobs in total across Meta’s global operations. Staff across a number of teams at its Irish operations, including finance, sales, marketing, analytics, operations, and engineering, are at risk of losing their job. Ireland’s flagship multinational previously cut 300 Irish jobs last November when it announced its first round of layoffs. A further 70 Irish staff were made redundant since then.
Meta Ireland was notified that they would potentially be impacted by the restructuring of its teams, which will result in laying off employees globally, as announced by its CEO Mark Zuckerberg in March. Mr. Zuckerberg aims to slim down the size of Meta’s overall headcount by a further 10,000 this year. He announced 4,000 job cuts as part of this in March.
“Since we reduced our workforce last year, one surprising result is that many things have gone faster. In retrospect, I underestimated the indirect costs of lower priority projects,” said Mr. Zuckerberg in a blog post. Meta, like many other tech firms, ballooned its headcount during the pandemic but slowed hiring and reduced its workforce last year due to a slowdown brought about by volatile economic conditions and an e-commerce slump.
The tech firm, which also relies heavily on ad revenue, is also vulnerable to advertisers tightening budgets as the global economy has grappled with rising inflation, leading to rising interest rates. The Central Bank estimates from earlier this year show tech layoffs have led to 2,300 Irish job losses. The latest Meta announcement has boosted this closer to 3,000.
Despite the setback, the Irish economy remains strong, and the government is committed to supporting the tech sector. Minister Coveney stated, “Ireland remains a world-class location for investment, and we will continue to work with companies to ensure that they can grow and prosper here.”
The job losses at Meta are undoubtedly a blow to the Irish tech sector, but the government’s commitment to supporting the industry and the overall strength of the Irish economy should help the country weather the storm.