By Nate Vaylo, International Business Writer
Facebook Inc. is increasing their workforce across the Atlantic by more than 50 percent with the recent opening of a company office in London.
The social media powerhouse is planning to create 800 jobs in the United Kingdom by the end of next year. Once the jobs are created, roughly 2,300 people will be employed by Facebook in London altogether. The new office will mainly accommodate engineers and software developers, but will also be home to sales and marketing teams as well. This location will be Facebook’s biggest engineering hub outside of the United States.
Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook Europe’s vice-president, said in a statement: “The UK’s flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem and international reputation for engineering excellence makes it one of the best places in the world to build a tech company.” Later adding, “Facebook is more committed than ever to the U.K… we’ve built our company here – this country has been a huge part of Facebook’s story over the past decade, and I look forward to continuing our work.”
The move comes during a time of anxiety and turmoil for companies based in the United Kingdom, as the country is set to leave the European Union in March 2019. Facebook’s commitment to their new office will add a much-needed boost to the U.K. tech sector while tech companies continue to worry about the recruitment of engineers and other workers across Europe once the U.K. exits. The U.K. will restrict immigration after Brexit, and according to techUK, 31 percent of current workers in the British tech sector are from foreign countries.
“We have made our case to government that one of the main things that we want is a stable regulatory environment in which we can operate and thrive,” said Mendelsohn in her statement.
Philip Hammond, finance minister of the United Kingdom, welcomed the arrival of the new office, claiming that “it’s a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan also praised Facebook’s commitment as well, stating that “the emphasis on engineering and the 800 new jobs being created shows London remains at the forefront of global innovation.” Facebook announced the plans for the new office last year, shortly after Google announced their plans to build a new London office that would accommodate over 7,000 workers.
The new office will also be the home to the LDN_LAB, an incubator designed to kick-start new British tech companies. By being located in the new office building, the start-ups will have access to the tools and expertise used by Facebook to get their feet off the ground. Facebook is initially looking for five to six companies to join the three-month program, with plans to increase the number to twenty by the end of next year.
“The launch of the company’s incubator is set to play a crucial role in attracting vital talent to London and will help to pave the way for the next generation of successful startups,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Facebook’s new building has seven floors and is located at Rathbone Place, right off of Oxford Street in the heart of the city. The building was designed by architect Frank Gehry, who is most notably known for the design of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Hammond instilled hope in the hearts of the British people by solemnly stating that “The UK is not only the best place to start a new business, [but] the best place to grow one.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, December 12th print edition.
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