Facebook puts faith in UK tech with pledge to add 500 jobs


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Facebook will hire an extra 500 employees in the UK next year, boosting its British headcount by 50 per cent when it opens its new London office in the latest sign of technology companies pledging confidence in the capital.

The California-based social media group’s plans to expand in Britain follow Google’s announcement last week to hire an extra 3,000 people while Amazon and Apple are both taking up new lodgings in London over the next few years with room for expansion.

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, said Facebook’s decision to expand in London showed its strength as a tech hub “keeps on growing”. He added: “The capital’s vibrant tech scene is the envy of Europe and Facebook’s continuing commitment is another sign that London is open to talent, innovation and entrepreneurship from all four corners of the world.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s European head, will announce the new jobs at the CBI annual conference on Monday, where she will also discuss Facebook’s latest strategy to help small businesses expand by connecting them to customers around the world via Facebook.

“We came to London in 2007 with just a handful of people, by the end of next year we will have opened a new HQ and plan to employ 1,500 people,” Ms Mendelsohn said. “Many of those new roles will be high-skilled engineering jobs, as the UK is home to our largest engineering base outside of the US and is where we have developed new products like Workplace.”

She said more than 300m people were connected via Facebook to small British businesses, about 10 per cent in Britain. “The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company and is an important part of Facebook’s story,” she said.

Last week, Google announced plans to hire an additional 3,000 people in its London office over the next few years, in an effort to widen its pool of global engineering talent. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, also announced an expansion of the search group’s digital skills training programme in the UK, which will include training in social media, web analytics and ecommerce in 100 cities and towns across the country.

Despite foreign companies casting a clear vote of confidence in the UK after the Brexit referendum, leaders of both large and small tech groups continue to worry about accessing skilled global talent.

“We need clarity about the existing EU employees, and we need a regime that allows for frictionless movement of talent,” said Julian David, chief executive of industry body TechUK, whose members include Facebook and Google. “It’s the same across every part of the tech industry, from start-ups to highly established large companies.”


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