Facebook is expanding its British operation with 800 new hires
At this moment, Facebook employs around 1,500 people in the UK – or around 0.23% of the population. That figure is going to creep up over the next year to 0.35%, or around 2,300 people working for Mark Zuckerberg’s social behemoth by the end of 2018. That’s still a relatively small proportion of the 23,165 people with a Facebook door pass worldwide, but it’s still notable at a time when investor confidence in the United Kingdom is what you’d charitably call “shaky.”
The 800 new staff will mainly be engineers and will move into the company’s new Rathbone Place London office over the coming year. More interestingly, the company will also be dedicating some of its newfound 247,000 square feet of office space to startups with their new LDN_LAB incubator. The space is dedicated to helping startups focused on goals that mesh with Facebook’s newfound mission statement, and look to build and empower communities.
Unsurprisingly, the chancellor Philip Hammond has leapt on this as a sign that the UK is heading in the right direction. “It’s a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here,” he said in a statement.
‘Chancellor sees positives in economy’ is hardly headline news, but yes, that is a positive sign that the steps the government has taken to ensure tech isn’t too badly affected by the difficult times ahead are having some kind of impact. Though of course business confidence is relative: Facebook earned £2.9 billion of profit between April and June this year, and that’s the kind of financial security that tends to make one a bit more relaxed about incoming turbulence. Small and mid-sized businesses may not share the same level of optimism.
Still, Facebook isn’t alone in expanding its London business operation. Apple is currently eagerly awaiting the completion of its new 500,000 square foot office in Battersea, while Snap Incorporated has also picked London for its international HQ. While we wait to see what kind of short, mid and long-term effects Brexit has on the UK economy, we can at least say we have more big companies invested in the outcome.