Meta expects to cut up to 490 jobs from its Irish operation in the latest round of redundancies to hit the social media giant.
The anticipated job losses at the company, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, would equate to about 18 per cent of roles at its hub in Ireland.
It comes on top of hundreds of previous job cuts at Meta as well as losses in other tech companies such as Microsoft, Twitter and Indeed.
The cuts are being seen by the Government as part of a broader readjustment of the tech industry’s global workforce after its growth during the Covid-19 pandemic rather than being down to any specific “Irish issue”.
While uncertainty in the sector remains, the Coalition is said to have received no notice of major job losses elsewhere nor does it believe there is any indication of a long-term trend of cuts in the tech industry.
A Government source said the news from Meta was the last announcement “we knew was coming” and there will be “no massive ‘pull the handbrake’ or change” in Ireland’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy.
The FDI strategy is already said to be diversified and targets others such as pharmaceutical companies as well as those in tech.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil his thoughts were with the affected Meta staff and their families and that the Government would engage with Meta “to make sure that they are given a decent severance package or redundancy package”.
He said the State would offer job search and training support to impacted workers “if they need it”.
Mr Varadkar also pointed out that the latest statistics show an increase in the number of people working in the tech sector by 4,000 compared with this time last year.
Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney said the Meta announcement is “bad news” but he wanted to offer affected workers reassurance that the tech market in Ireland is “still very strong”. He told RTÉ: “These are skilled people. They will find other jobs, I think, quite quickly.”
Sinn Féin’s workers’ rights spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly said the job cuts are a “crushing blow” for employees and a “sign of continuing volatility in the [tech] sector”. She encouraged workers to join trade unions.
Labour Party finance spokesman Ged Nash said: “The wave of job losses in the tech sector is of deep concern.”
He said Ireland’s corporation tax base is vulnerable to “decisions made in boardrooms in the US”.
Mr Nash also raised concerns about the possible impact on the income tax base if there is “any significant shift in the business models of firms like Meta and other tech giants”.
Government sources played down the potential risks to tax receipts, in part due to the overall growth in employment, including in the tech sector.
The latest expected redundancies at Meta will apply to departments such as finance, sales, marketing, analytics, operations and engineering.
The move is part of a cost-cutting push announced in March that will see 10,000 positions go at the company worldwide and a number of vacant jobs go unfilled.
An initial round of job losses numbering in the “low double digits” – thought to be 30 to 50 positions – went at Meta Ireland in March, with a small number lost as part of the same cost-cutting measures.
The final number of lay-offs could differ depending on the outcome of the consultation process with staff, which is getting under way. Staff may be transferred internally if opportunities arise.
Meta axed about 350 roles here in a previous round of redundancies last year as part of 11,000 cuts from its global workforce.
The post-pandemic tech downturn has hit Meta hard.
It reported its first revenue drop in a decade last July, and the company has since embarked on what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg called Meta’s “Year of Efficiency”.