Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced the creation of 1,000 new jobs in Britain on Tuesday, which will take the total number of Facebook staff in the UK to 4,000.
Half of the roles for these new jobs will be in technical areas, such as software engineering, product design, data science and product development, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in an interview.
Ms Mendelsohn said London’s appeal for creating new jobs was not only in its technology ecosystem but also the strength of its creative industries.
The company is seeking to develop London as its biggest engineering centre outside of the United States with these new jobs, and insiders are reported to have said that its new 600,000 sq ft offices at King’s Cross could house more than 6,000 workers. Around 165,000 science students graduate from British universities every year, and “we’ll keep hiring them”, a senior insider said.
“The UK is a world leader in both innovation and creativity,” Ms Sandberg said. “That’s why I’m excited that we plan to hire an additional 1,000 people in London this year alone.
“London is home to Facebook’s biggest engineering hub outside the US and we’re committed to investing here for the long-term.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London’s tech sector is a global success story and the 1,000 new jobs Facebook is creating shows that our city has the talent to attract tech companies of all sizes from across the world.”
Facebook’s proposed digital cryptocurrency, Libra, suffered a setback yesterday when Vodafone announced that they were pulling out of the Libra Association, following the likes of PayPal, eBay and Mastercard. The Bank of England have said that any digital currency such as Libra would have the potential to become “systemically important” and that all parts of the ecosystem around Libra that would be needed to buy, hold and exchange the currency would need to meet its standards.
In a statement, Vodafone said: “We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion. We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.”
Facebook is seeking to rebuild trust in its platforms after the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, where the site allowed a political consulting firm to harvest data for voter profiling and targeting. They also were criticised to have acted sluggishly in removing self-harm videos after the suicide of teenager Molly Russell in 2017.
The planned new jobs will come as a significant boost to Britain’s tech sector before Brexit. The technology sector is perceived to be less exposed to the UK leaving the European Union with a bare-bones trading deal than other industries, which could face disruptions from cross-border checks on physical goods or the imposition of tariffs.
Last year, British digital companies raised a record £10.1 billion despite Brexit uncertainties, eclipsing France and Germany combined.
According to its most recent accounts, Facebook paid its 2,000 employees an average of £191,350 each in salary and share-based bonuses in 2018.
22nd January 2020.