Facebook announced that it will be expanding its presence in the United Kingdom by 50% when it opens its new London headquarters next year. The tech giant will hire 500 additional employees, including marketers, project managers, engineers and sales staff, according to the BBC.
Facebook creating hundreds of jobs in the UK
Nicola Mendelsohn, a London-based executive for Facebookm said, “The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company.”
The new headquarters will be in Fitzrovia at a site which is currently undergoing redevelopment. The majority of the new staff members will based there. Mendelsohn announced the expansion at the Confederation of British Industry conference.
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Mendelsohn, who is also the vice president for the social network’s Africa, the Middle East, and Europe division, said many of those new roles will be highly-skilled engineering jobs, as the U.K. is home to the company’s largest engineering base outside of the U.S. Mendelsohn said they came to London in 2007 with just a handful of people, and by the end of 2017, they plan to have a new HQ in the city and 1,500 people working there.
Some of Facebook’s major innovations have been developed in Britain, including Aquila, a solar-powered, unmanned plane that provides internet connectivity to remote regions. That project is located in Somerset, Facebook’s only U.K. site outside London, notes the BBC.
Meanwhile, engineers at Facebook’s London office are continuing the development of Workplace. It is a platform launched last month to improve communications between people working within a business.
U.K. unfazed by Brexit?
Facebook’s announcement comes only a week after Google announced the creation of 3,000 new jobs by 2020 and a £1 billion investment in a new London headquarters. Such announcements are a positive push to Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been under pressure to demonstrate that the U.K. is still open for business even after the June vote to leave the EU.
Such investments from U.S. firms suggest they have brushed off scrutiny from Brussels over the amount of taxes they pay in Europe, says The Telegraph. Facebook, like other American tech giants, has faced scrutiny about its U.K. tax bill.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the social network’s decision to expand in London is further evidence that “London’s strength as a tech hub keeps on growing.” After the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, there has been speculation that international companies may reconsider investing in Britain.