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Meta delays setting team budgets as it plans fresh round of job cuts

Meta has delayed finalising multiple teams’ budgets while it prepares a fresh round of job cuts as Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to contain costs in his “year of efficiency” causes disruption at the social media company.

Two Meta employees familiar with the situation told the Financial Times that there had been a lack of clarity about budgets or future headcount in recent weeks. As a result, staff have complained that “zero work” is getting done as managers have been unable to plan their coming workloads, the employees said.

Projects and decisions that usually take days to sign off are now taking about a month in some cases, even in priority areas including the metaverse and advertising, those people said.

Certain budgets would typically get finalised by the end of the year, one of the people added.

“Honestly, it’s still a mess,” said one employee. “The year of efficiency is kicking off with a bunch of people getting paid to do nothing.”

It comes as Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is planning further rounds of job cuts after dismissing 11,000 staffers — about 13 per cent of its headcount — in November. Three employees said staff were demotivated and demoralised due to the cuts and uncertainty.

Zuckerberg announced earlier this month that the social media company would continue to wrestle its costs under control under his new mantra of “the year of efficiency”. Meta’s improving outlook at its fourth-quarter results sent shares up 18 per cent, adding $88bn to its market value.

Over the past year, Big Tech stocks, particularly those reliant on advertising dollars, have suffered a dramatic sell-off amid tough macroeconomic conditions and marketers tightening their budgets. This has led to an industry-wide job cull, as tech bosses concede they overextended during the coronavirus pandemic’s digital boom.

Wall Street investors last year voiced frustration with Meta’s finances, including its $10bn annual investment into the metaverse and bloated headcount, as the economic slowdown began to eat into its earnings.

Despite November’s staff reduction, which was the most dramatic cull in Meta’s history, further cuts are expected around March, as the company is currently going through performance reviews of staff, three current and former employees said.

These are expected around March, as the company is currently going through performance reviews of staff, one of the people said.

On an earnings call with analysts last week, Zuckerberg said: “Next, we’re working on flattening our org structure and removing some layers in middle management to make decisions faster.” He also said the company would be “more proactive” about cutting low-performing or low-priority projects.

In some cases, managers are being asked to either move to roles where they do not manage anyone, known as individual contributor roles, or leave the company, according to one person and first reported by Bloomberg.

Nicknamed “the flattening” internally, some employees are concerned those who shift roles are essentially being demoted, the person said. Another staffer said it was internally called “calibration”, where middle and senior managers will have jobs ranked and merged.

Meta declined to comment.

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