It is yet unclear how employees in Meta’s Cork office will be affected by news that the tech company is set to make large-scale layoffs this week.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Facebook’s parent company Meta is preparing to cut thousands of staff this week, with an official announcement expected as soon as Wednesday.
The layoff could be the largest yet in a string of similar announcements in recent days from tech companies such as Twitter and Strype.
Meta employs more than 3,000 people directly at its Dublin-based European headquarters, with thousands more working across multiple sites in Ireland, including Meta’s Reality Labs in Cork.
The Cork Meta office is based at the top of the Capitol Building on Grand Parade, and is home to Reality Labs and several other teams that work to research, develop, and build software and hardware products.
Employees at the Cork Reality Lab are involved in developing cutting-edge AV/VR technology to support the ‘Metaverse’, an online virtual world that CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to invest in heavily, despite concerns from shareholders.
Only a year ago, Meta announced it would be creating 10,000 jobs across Ireland and Europe to help build the Metaverse.
However, Meta’s latest financial reports from the third quarter of this year show that Reality Labs have lost the company more than $9bn in 2022, predicting that losses will “grow significantly year-over-year”, and that the company expects it will have to pace investment in Reality Labs beyond 2023.
A spokesperson for Meta Ireland declined to comment on the WSJ story but highlighted CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on the company’s latest earnings call last month.
“In 2023, we're going to focus our investments on a small number of high-priority growth areas. So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year. In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today,” he said.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North-Central, Thomas Gould, said that some of the recent layoff announcements in the tech sector have failed to treat employees with “respect and dignity”, with uncertainty and a “complete lack of communication”.
“Big companies like Twitter and Facebook must realise that they’re dealing with human beings that have feelings and families, and they have to be respected,” he said.
Colm Burke, Fine Gael TD for Cork North-Central, added that people who may lose their jobs should be supported and offered new employment opportunities.
“I would hope that anyone who is losing their jobs who have [tech] expertise, we shouldn’t be afraid of taking them on in public services and in particular in relation to healthcare - we’re way behind the modern world in relation to technology in healthcare,” he said, highlighting the far-reaching impacts of the recent cyber attack on the HSE.