AUSTIN (KXAN) — Newly public records from the Texas Workforce Commission show more than 200 Meta workers in Austin are being laid off as part of company-wide massive cuts.
According to the records, a total of 222 workers will lose their jobs on Jan. 13 across Meta’s West Sixth, McAllen Pass, Alterra Parkway and West Third locations. Records indicate the layoff notices came Wednesday.
Federal law requires companies with 100 or more workers to give at least 60 days advance written notice of a site closing and mass layoffs affecting more than 50 workers. That’s called the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or WARN Act.
In a letter to employees earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook’s parent company Meta is laying off 11,000 people — about 13% of its workforce, as it grapples with decreasing revenue and larger challenges in the tech industry.
One woman, who lives in Pflugerville, was a contract worker for Meta since December 2021, expected to finish this December.
“Everything was going great,” she said, until one day in September.
“I was working until 3 p.m., and the next hour, at four… I lost access from everything. I couldn’t even turn on the laptop. So, I was like, ‘Okay, what’s happening?'” she recalled.
She said later that day, her team was notified Meta ended its contract early. She thinks it was a precursor to what’s happening now.
“Maybe they started off with the contractors, you know, and then now it’s the entire employees that are affected,” said the 27 year old, who wanted to stay anonymous.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg appeared virtually at South by Southwest, speaking to an Austin crowd about expanding his company into the virtual world.
Austin was set to be a big part of it with the company expected to move into a new downtown high-rise. A Meta spokesperson confirmed with KXAN earlier this month that won’t be happening.
“We are currently evaluating our real estate portfolio globally and making focused, balanced investments to support our most strategic long-term priorities and lead the way in creating the workplace of the future,” she said.
The cuts come amid a flurry of other hiring freezes and layoffs in the tech industry, most notably at Twitter. It’s still unclear how many of those employees in Austin will be impacted.
Amazon, one of the Austin area’s largest employers, also announced slowdowns.
“With the economy in an uncertain place and in light of how many people we have hired in the last few years, Andy and S-team decided this week to pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce,” Beth Galetti, senior vice president of People Experience and Technology at Amazon, wrote in a recent blog post.
She said the company had already paused hiring in other areas over the last few weeks and plans to hold the pause for the next few months.
Can you still find a job in Austin’s tech industry?
“The good news is that some other companies in the tech industry are not seeing those same repercussions to what the economy is looking like,” said Jessie Camarillo, technology partnerships director for Workforce Solutions Capital Area (WFSCA).
She said her group has spoken with local tech companies who are slowing down hiring but not stopping or laying off workers right now.
“What they are doing is being extremely selective about… the individuals and the job titles that they are hiring for,” she said.
Camarillo said WFSCA wants to help workers develop what she calls “recession-proof skills.”
“If you’re a job seeker in the tech world, my advice would always be, let’s get you trained up into a highly skilled niche occupation, so that there you are part of that group of people who other tech companies are selectively still looking for,” she said.
She said WFSCA has scholarship programs and other resources to help workers get trained, like resume, transportation and child care help.
“Unfortunately, the people who are hardest hit by unemployment are the folks who have the lower skill level… They possibly do not have a post-secondary degree,” Camarillo explained. “Workforce Solutions understands the needs of the industry and how to get somebody from under-skilled to a skilled position where their input would be highly valuable and hopefully recession-proof.”