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Meta versus the finance world

Goldman Sachs engineers are still joining Meta, despite the results

Facebooks parent company, Meta, recently their Q3 earnings after the bell last night and they were not pretty. Earnings per share came in at 20 cents lower than anticipated and average revenue per user dropped by over 40 cents. Revenues fell 4%, costs and expenses grew 19% year over year. Shares fell 20%, capping a 62% decline since the start of this year. 

It looks painful. But Meta's compensation and headcount have both seen sharp increases. Headcount is up 28% year-on-year and share-based compensation is up 24% over the same time frame.  However, with share prices plummeting, employees may not be happy. 

In the earnings call, Meta CFO David Wehner claimed that, while they expect hiring to “slow dramatically”, cuts may not necessarily be on the horizon as they “expect headcount at the end of 2023 will be approximately in line with third quarter 2022 levels.” This was, of course, said prior to the plummeting share price so it is best to take it with a pinch of salt, particularly given the recent cancellation of planned hires as late as three weeks before their start date. 

None of this, however, seems to be discouraging Meta from continuing to hire from Goldman Sachs, or Goldman Sachs engineers from joining Meta. 

In recent months there have been several such movers, at various different levels of the business. Right at the top, we can see Nai One La, former executive director at Goldman, who left her position after over 13 years to become director of Meta this month. Further down the ladder, we have examples like Ruben Verboon and Xi Chen, VPs at JPMorgan and Goldman. They moved to Meta in May to become a software and machine learning engineer respectively.

Meta has even been able to poach some of Goldman's newer talent like Ahmed Mansour who worked as a software engineer at the bank for just 9 months before being tempted away by the tech giant.

Why would all these Goldman engineers want to join Meta at such a turbulent time? After all, Goldman Sachs where most of these moves appear to be coming from performed well above projections earning $3.1B instead of $2.8B. And Goldman's shares are down a far more modest 16% this year. 

The simplest answer would be the difference in workplace culture. Banks are still adamant on maintaining a physical presence in the workplace whereas technology companies, who have always had a reputation for more unique office environments, are more lax. Meta's recent cuts to shuttle bus services to their offices suggest they're leaning towards remote work. 

The pay at Meta does not seem to be the big attraction. A software engineer with one year's experience at Facebook in New York can make $140k according to Levels.fyi. A comparable engineer at Goldman Sachs can now expect $170k+ according to recent data. 

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AUTHORAlex McMurray
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