Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced that it was laying off about 11,000 employees, or 13 percent of its global workforce. It’s the first mass redundancy exercise for the 18-year-old social media behemoth.
Its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore was not spared. Media reports speculated that out of the estimated 1,000 employees here, perhaps up to 100, have been affected, the majority of whom are tech workers including software engineers.
Based on 2021 Singapore Ministry of Manpower figures, about a quarter of the 177,100 employment pass holders, or around 45,000, are from India. Employment pass holders are the highest qualified foreign professionals that are allowed to work in the country and must earn at least SGD 5,000 (USD 3,700) per month. No doubt many of these are impacted by not only Meta’s layoffs but also other redundancies happening in the tech sector.
Technology companies around the world and in Singapore, a major tech hub where many of the tech giants host their regional headquarters, are freezing hiring or downsizing in the face of sluggish consumer spending, higher interest rates, and inflation.
Among the Southeast Asian companies that downsized in the middle of the year are Singapore-based digital wealth manager, StashAway which laid off 31 employees, or 14 percent of its headcount, and currency exchange Crypto.com which let go 260, or 5 percent of its workforce in Singapore. Meanwhile, Malaysian online shopping platform iPrice also retrenched 250 workers, or 25 percent of its employees, and Indonesian education tech company Zenius made more than 200 employees redundant.
Startups in the region were particularly badly affected due to a fall in venture capital funding levels this year. According to a Crunchbase report, funding in the region dropped by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2022 to USD36.3 billion compared to the same quarter last year.