Facebook looks to hire 9,400 by 2017

As social networking company plans move to new campus, focus is on hiring, reports say

Facebook is looking to hire 9,400 more employees in the next six years, according to reports.

The social networking company, which has been undergoing explosive user growth, confirmed in February that it is moving to a 79-acre office campus to accommodate its expanding business. And now the MercuryNews.com is reporting that Facebook, which now employs 2,000 people globally -- 1,400 of them in its Palo Alto offices -- expects to reach full capacity at the new campus by 2017.

The social network expects to increase its ranks by more than five-fold, adding 9,400 workers by 2017, the MercuryNews site reported, citing city documents.

"It is dangerous, but they clearly recognize the threat of not growing, which is seeing their business go to Google or some new upstart," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "They have the potential to back up these kind of numbers, but I'm worried that they haven't really locked down their [long-term strategy] yet and that they may be doing more harm than good at this pace."

Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed to Computerworld in February that the company bought the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park, Calif. That property, which served as the corporate headquarters for Sun until the company was acquired by Oracle, covers 57 acres, with nine buildings encompassing about 1 million square feet.

The company also purchased an adjacent 22-acre tract that is connected to the Sun campus by a tunnel. The Facebook spokeswoman said the company is holding onto that property for possible future development.

The spokeswoman also said at the time that the company expected to do more hiring this year. "Our new campus provides us with the necessary room to continue growing, and we look forward to what's ahead," she said.

Employees are expected to move into the new campus in waves, with the first group expected to move in June or July.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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