CEOs accuse tech workers of doing ‘fake’ work as layoffs roil industry

The CEO accused tech companies of predatory hiring and said laid-off employees were only attending meetings

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 14 March 2023 21:43 GMT
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A pair of wealthy tech CEOs have accused workers in their industry of doing "fake work" after widespread layoffs in 2023.

Keith Rabois, a tech investor and the CEO of e-commerce company Open Door made the comments during a recent event in Miami, according to Business Insider.

He claimed that tech companies over-hired workers to fulfill the "vanity metric" of employees on staff. He went on to claim that many of those workers hired were of middling skill and had been hired to make companies look bigger than their rivals.

"All these people were extraneous," he said. "This has been true for a long time. The vanity metric of hiring employees was this false god in some ways."

He said that these vanity hires at companies like Meta and Google were brought but did not have actual tasks to do, calling their jobs "fake work."

The CEO also suggested that companies like Google hire top-talent engineers without having work for them in order to keep them from developing for other companies.

Mr Rabois, whose net work was at one point estimated to be at $1bn, said the majority of those staffers spent their time going to meetings.

He called the practice – known as predatory hiring – a "pretty coherent" strategy employed by top tech companies.

Mr Rabois did not appear to have criticism for the venture capital funding environment in tech that prioritises extreme growth, which is often measured in employees hired.

Another billionaire CEO, Thomas Siebel of AI firm C3.ai, spoke to Insider and railed against employees who worked from home, claiming if they wanted to do "four days of work in your pajamas" to go work for Facebook.

Their sentiments seem to fall in line with fellow billionaire CEO Elon Musk, who has fired and mocked workers if he feels they aren't "making" anything, according Insider.

Even companies criticised by the CEOs – like Meta, the parent company of Facebook – have laid off huge swaths of workers over the last year and more layoffs have been announced.

Meta laid off more than 11,000 people in November, accounting for roughly 70 per cent of its staff. Those cuts were made in the company's recruiting, product, operations, design, sales, and marketing departments. Only 22 per cent were cut from its engineering team, however.

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