Facebook hikes VR hiring despite lack of market success
- A CB Insights analysis of over 2,000 jobs at Facebook and found that the company is “rapidly increasing headcount to strengthen its specialized product and product innovation teams.” Openings in Facebook's Oculus VR, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Workplace by Facebook divisions totaled over 17% of the company’s open positions.
- With a strong focus on virtual and augmented reality, Facebook Oculus accounts for almost 10% of postings company-wide. After acquiring Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, Facebook is doubling down on the future of VR, even though consumer adoption has been slow, CB Insights says.
- Walmart recently announced it would add VR to over 200 of its nationwide academies to train more than 150,000 employees by the end of the year. Demonstrating a test pilot, the retail giant claimed employees who trained using VR performed better and retained learning material over longer durations. Other employers, like Farmer’s Insurance and KFC, have announced similar plans.
The aggressive hiring move from Facebook doesn’t necessarily align with the rest of the tech sector. In October, Facebook competitor Snapchat announced recruiting staff layoffs as consumer interest in its Spectacles wearable line (another tech sector facing setbacks due to low demand) continued to disappoint.
The push by Facebook to VR may illustrate the company’s belief that early investment on the talent side may work to its advantage. That's certainly nothing atypical of large Silicon Valley firms. Consider, for example, the massive salaries commanded by artifical intelligence specialists at Google.
Facebook has also faced political scrutiny following the recent presidential election. By allowing Russian-based organizations to buy ads during the election cycle, the company may be responding in part by increasing staff and technology to control advertising buys. Another push in hiring is reflected in over 40 jobs for its public policy team, in response to increasing regulatory and legal costs.