September 27, 2022
Image: Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty Images
Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. We can’t stop thinking about another workplace non-trend: the “Cy-Bos.” Today, job cuts are coming to Big Tech, including at Meta, which is reportedly planning to cut its expenses by 10%. Plus, LinkedIn found that acquaintances are more likely than close friends to lead to job opportunities.
— Meg Morrone, senior editor (email | twitter)
Cost-cutting in tech is officially hitting the industry’s titans. After years of ruthless staffing up, both Meta and Google have told some employees to find new jobs within the company or leave, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
These actions at Meta, via departmental reorganizations, have affected a “significant number” of employees. Cuts aren’t unexpected, a Meta spokesperson pointed out: Mark Zuckerberg told investors on the company’s July earnings call that he planned to “steadily reduce head count” over the coming year, and that “many teams are going to shrink so we can shift energy to other areas.”
The changes reported out of Google have apparently hit around half of the employees of the company’s 100-plus-employee startup incubator, Area 120, where a number of projects have been canceled. Google didn’t immediately return Protocol’s request for comment, but Sundar Pichai has spoken publicly about plans to cut costs, slow hiring, and make the company 20% more productive. On Friday, he reportedly told employees at an all-hands meeting that announcing job cuts to the whole company was “not a scalable way to do it,” but that he would “try and notify the company of the more important updates,” CNBC reported.
To find out what this all means for Big Tech and the rest of the industry, I spoke with Colleen McCreary, Nolan Church, and Steve Cadigan — three people-leaders who have led HR at companies like Credit Karma, DoorDash, Carta, and LinkedIn.
Moves like these are common in Big Tech. Giving employees 60 days to find another role is a “pretty normal big-company proposition,” said McCreary, the chief people, places, and publicity officer at Credit Karma. “Projects get spun up, projects get wound down.”
Big Tech has plenty of reasons to keep job cuts quiet.
For at least eight years, big tech companies have been hoarding talent — both from startups and from each other — as a competitive strategy, said Church.
One thing we know: More performance management is coming. McCreary said she gets a call from a CEO or head of HR “once a week” on how to do a layoff — but she’s also “hearing a lot more about, ‘How do you do performance management?’”
A new study published in Science found that LinkedIn users were more likely to land jobs through acquaintances than through close friends. Over five years, LinkedIn varied the mix of acquaintances and friends — or weak and strong social ties — shown by its “People You May Know” algorithm.
The ethics of this research, which wasn’t disclosed to users, is another matter, reports the New York Times, but as Ryan Broderick points out in his Garbage Day newsletter, this is really little more than A/B testing, a common website design practice.
When inflation soars, cash in hand today is worth more than it will be tomorrow. Rising material and production costs put pressure on profit margins, and growing interest rates increase the cost of borrowing. Any delay in receiving payments has a powerful effect on operating capital.
Join Protocol Climate editor Brian Kahn and a panel of climate leaders and tech executives to recap the biggest developments at the latest session of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA 2022) and preview the trends and events that will shape the future of climate tech and the planet.
Anyone else having a bad case of Great Resignation whiplash? It’s hard to keep up with which tech companies are growing, shrinking, floating, or sinking. We’re here to help.
⬆️ Southeast Asia’s dominant ride-hailing and food delivery company, Grab, doesn’t plan to conduct layoffs, its COO said. (Reuters)
⬇️ More Twitter gossip about hiring freezes — this time, for EMEA-based production engineers at Meta.
⬇️ Cuts and freezes are taking hold at Instacart, according to The Information.
⬇️ White-collar jobs may be at greater risk than blue-collar jobs in a 2023 economic downturn. (Insider)
⬇️ Goldman Sachs is laying off investment bankers, including on the tech, media, and telecommunications team. (Insider)
For more news on hiring, firing and rewiring, see our tech company tracker.
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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.