Meta employees are reportedly preparing for more layoffs amid delays in finalized budgets: ‘It’s still a mess’

Facebook parent Meta conducted its biggest-ever layoffs last November, losing about 11,000 workers. But other jobs, it seems, are about to be cut.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted in a Feb. 1 Facebook post, “We closed out last year with some tough layoffs and restructuring some teams. When we did, I made it clear that this was the beginning of our focus on efficiency and not the end. During an earnings call the same day, he announced that 2023 will be Meta’s “year of efficiency.”

As Meta workers wonder who will be considered inefficient, the company has delayed finalizing budgets for multiple teams, according to the Financial Times. Employees who spoke to the British newspaper on condition of anonymity said company morale was low and little work was being done on some teams pending unusually slow budget decisions.

Meta declined to comment when contacted by Fortune.

“Honestly, it’s still a mess,” an employee told the FT. “The year of efficiency is starting with a bunch of people getting paid for doing nothing.”

Other workers told the paper the next job cuts are expected next month.

Middle managers have reason to be nervous.

“More proactive in cutting projects”

Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post: “We are working on flattening our organizational structure and removing some layers of middle management to make decisions faster, as well as implementing artificial intelligence tools to help our engineers be more productive. As part of this, we will be more proactive about cutting projects that are not working out or may not be as crucial anymore, but my main goal is to increase the efficiency of how we execute on our top priorities.”

One such priority is the metaverse, a largely unrealized virtual world that has disappointed users and could take years to become profitable, if it ever does. The company’s metaverse division, Reality Labs, reported a loss of $13.7 billion for 2022, up from a loss of $10.2 billion in 2021.

Investors have tried lobbying Zuckerberg to scale back investment in the metaverse, to no avail.

In December, John Carmack, a virtual reality pioneer, left his senior advisor role at Meta, where he worked on the metaverse. He tweeted upon exiting, “I’ve always been quite frustrated with the way things are done on FB/Meta. Everything needed for spectacular success is right there, but it’s not being put together effectively.

Slowness with the metaverse and three consecutive quarters of year-over-year revenue declines, however, aren’t stopping share buybacks on Meta. In its latest earnings statement, Meta said it increased its share repurchase authorization by $40 billion, noting that it repurchased about $28 billion last year.

Many tech companies that have hired too much during the pandemic, as demand for services surge, have conducted large layoffs in recent months, leading to a sense of mixed headlines as the latest US jobs report shows unemployment more low in the last 50 years.

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