Facebook-owner Meta has scaled back its plans to recruit engineers by at least 30 percent, as boss Mark Zuckerberg warns staff to brace themselves for an economic downturn.

The company has dropped its aim for hiring engineers in 2022 to about 6,000-7,000, down from an early target of 10,000.

The firm acknowledged hiring freezes in broad terms last month, but particular details have not been disclosed.

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Zuckerberg said: “If I had to bet, I’d say that this might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history.”

“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.” 

In addition to limiting recruiting, the company was keeping some roles vacant due to attrition and “turning up the heat” on performance management to filter out employees who were unable to fulfill more demanding targets.

He added: “Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me.”

The social media and technology company is preparing for a leaner second half of the year as it deals with macroeconomic challenges and data privacy impacts on its advertising business.

CPO Chris Cox stated the company must “prioritize more ruthlessly” and “operate leaner, meaner, better executing teams.”

He said: “I have to underscore that we are in serious times here and the headwinds are fierce. We need to execute flawlessly in an environment of slower growth, where teams should not expect vast influxes of new engineers and budgets.”

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A Meta spokesperson said the memo was “intended to build on what we’ve already said publicly in earnings about the challenges we face and the opportunities we have, where we’re putting more of our energy toward addressing.”

The guidance is the latest approximate estimate from Meta executives, who have already reduced spending across most of the firm this year in response to sluggish ad sales and user growth.

Tech firms have cut back their goals across the board in anticipation of a likely US recession, however, Meta’s stock price drop has been more severe than competitors Apple and Google. 

The social media giant lost over half of its market value this year when Meta announced that daily active users on its flagship Facebook app fell for the first time in a quarter for the first time.

Source: CNBC

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