Reuters Piece on Tim Cook and Employee Retention

Poornima Gupta and Peter Henderson, reporting for Reuters, on retention problems:

Some Silicon Valley recruiters and former Apple employees at rival companies say they are seeing more Apple resumes than ever before, especially from hardware engineers, though the depth and breadth of any brain-drain remains difficult to quantify, especially given the recent expansion in staff numbers.

“I am being inundated by LinkedIn messages and emails both by people who I never imagined would leave Apple and by people who have been at Apple for a year, and who joined expecting something different than what they encountered,” said one recruiter with ties to Apple.

Still, the Cook regime is also seen as kinder and gentler, and that’s been a welcome change for many.

“It is not as crazy as it used to be. It is not as draconian,” said Beth Fox, a recruiting consultant and former Apple employee, adding that the people she knows are staying put. “They like Tim. They tend to err on the optimistic side.”

So engineers are leaving in droves because Apple is a nicer place to work now?

No doubt about it, retention is a key concern for Apple, but they do not have a retention problem. I’d wager Apple has a higher retention rate than any of its Valley competitors. There may well be more Apple resumes in circulation than ever before, but there are more Apple employees than ever before — Apple has never been bigger than it is now, and Apple employees have never been in higher demand.

Still, employees report some grumbling, and Apple seems to have taken note, conducting a survey of morale in the critical hardware engineering unit earlier this year.

“As our business continues to grow and face new challenges, it becomes increasingly important to get feedback about your perceptions and experiences working in hardware engineering,” Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, wrote to his team in February in an email seen by Reuters.

Apple does these surveys among employees every two or three years, and has done so throughout the modern era. I don’t think the survey cited above was in response to a rise in discontent.

Thursday, 22 August 2013