MENLO PARK (CBS / CNN) -- As many as 50% of Facebook employees could be working remotely within the next five to 10 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday.
The projection — a guess, Zuckerberg said, not a target — marks a major pivot by the world's biggest social media company, headquartered in Menlo Park, to support working from home after the pandemic.
Zuckerberg pitched the idea as both a matter of satisfying employee desires and also as an effort to create "more broad-based economic prosperity."
The remarks come less than two weeks after Jack Dorsey, CEO of rival social network platform Twitter, announced that certain employees would be able to work from home "forever." Earlier this week, Dorsey announced a similar policy for mobile payments company Square, where he is also CEO.
"When you limit hiring to people who live in a small number of big cities, or who are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, have different backgrounds, have different perspectives," Zuckerberg said on a livestream posted to his Facebook page.
Zuckerberg said the company expects to dramatically increase its remote hiring over time. The company will begin by focusing on hiring for advanced engineering positions, Zuckerberg said. Entry-level hires will largely not be eligible for remote hiring at first, he said.
Geographically, Facebook will start with areas close to its existing offices, including Portland, San Diego, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Zuckerberg said. A second priority will be to create newer "hubs" of employees in areas where Facebook currently has less of a presence — beginning with Atlanta, Dallas and Denver, he said.
Compensation in these areas could well be lower than in the Bay Area, Zuckerberg acknowledged.
Facebook is also looking into supporting permanent remote work for its existing employees. Zuckerberg said he expects only about 25% of Facebook employees to return to their desks initially as the company looks to reopen its offices.
Those choosing to continue working remotely will be required to report their locations to the company, Zuckerberg said. That requirement will take effect on Jan. 1.
"We're setting a date for Jan. 1 for when you either need to move back to where you were, or tell us where you are and we'll basically adjust your salary to your location at that point," Zuckerberg said.
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