Several US technology companies such as Facebook, Uber, Amazon or Twitter are slowing down their hiring because the sector, with good results in the pandemic, is going through a difficult period.
On the sidelines of the publication of the quarterly results of the groups listed on Wall Street, several announcements were made.
During a phone call with analysts in late April, David Wehner, the chief financial officer of Facebook parent Meta, referred to a "adjustment" of recruitment goals.
"We regularly reassess our talent pool based on our business needs"a Meta spokesman told AFP.
"We are slowing growth [de la contratación] in light of our expense forecasts, reported in our latest results"he added, specifying that the long-term goal was still to increase the group’s workforce, which employed 77,805 people at the end of March, 28% more than a year ago.
Another tech giant and the second-largest employer in the United States behind Walmart, Amazon, suggested that no additional staff would be hired anytime soon. The company had 1.6 million employees at the end of 2021, more than double the number in 2019.
"When the variant [ómicron] decreased in the second half of the first quarter and employees returned from vacation, we quickly went from understaffed to overstaffed"said the group’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky.
Amid Elon Musk’s announcements about a possible purchase of Twitter, the social network decided to suspend non-essential hiring.
As for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, he wrote in an email to company employees published by CNBC that new hires must be "treated as a privilege".
– Inflation –
The reasons for these employment freezes vary from company to company. Facebook, for example, points to the impact on its ad revenue of Apple’s new rules on data sharing.
Twitter, meanwhile, is mired in a wave of uncertainty following Musk’s spin on buying the company, and Uber is suffering heavy losses from its investments in several start-ups with shaky financial health.
But there are also common factors, such as the end of the lockdown economy and the progressive lifting of health restrictions.
"Many technology companies have responded to the growing demand for digital services by hiring and growing their business in the last two years"says Terry Kramer, adjunct professor at the UCLA business school, citing the emblematic case of the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
"Much of what we are seeing now is a phase of technology maturity in which these companies cannot and do not need to continue to grow at the same rate"Kramer continues.
Another factor that weighs on the sector is the continuous and high inflation. Rising prices put pressure on the US central bank (Fed) to raise interest rates, hampering companies’ ability to borrow, a particularly unfavorable situation for tech companies.
"Many companies that bet on a growth strategy, without expecting short-term profits, thought they could continue to raise money through the stock market or private investors."explains economic forecasting expert Daniil Manaenkov of the University of Michigan.