Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg Talks Hiring Slowdown

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has elaborated on his plans to tighten hiring throughout the rest of the year. That could impact the plans of anyone who wants to work at the company, which controls Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and the Oculus line of virtual reality devices.

According to The New York Times, Zuckerberg told staffers during a recent internal call that Meta would hire between 6,000 and 7,000 engineers this year, which is notably lower than the previous goal of 10,000. He also said the company’s internal pace of work will increase, with fewer resources for staffers.

“I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.”

The hiring freeze will impact junior engineering positions in particular, and managers will promote internally rather than hire externally. Meta faces significant challenges right now, including a slower advertising business. Apple’s stringent privacy controls on iOS are also reducing the amount of user data that Meta receives, impacting its clients’ ability to target potential customers.

Last but certainly not least, Meta is spending billions of dollars on the “metaverse,” the company’s term for an ecosystem of virtual-reality and augmented-reality apps. Although Zuckerberg believes that the metaverse is the future of the web, it could be years—maybe even more than a decade—before the technology enjoys mainstream adoption.

Rumors of a hiring freeze at Meta have persisted for months. In May, The New York Times reported that company perks such as on-site laundry and dry cleaning were being phased out, apparently as part of broader cost-cutting initiatives.

Despite this turmoil, Meta remains one of the highest-paying companies in tech, particularly for software engineers with the right mix of skills and experience. For example, an engineer at the M1 rank can make $235,092 in base salary, nearly $300,000 in stock options, and a $53,326 bonus (according to levels.fyi, which crowdsources compensation data). That’s comparable to what technologists make at Google and other big tech firms. Meta might be cutting costs and slowing hiring, but it will still need highly paid technologists if it wants to survive the current moment.