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How Has Apple Avoided Mass Layoffs Like Meta, Google, and Microsoft?

Apple's lean hiring process during the COVID-19 pandemic may be the reason that it's avoided mass layoffs.

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As big tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft terminate employees by the thousands, industry giant Apple has avoided mass layoffs of employees, so far at least. While the iPhone maker's intentions will only become clearer post 2 February, after its earnings call, so far it has avoided making massive cuts to its workforce.

How has Apple avoided mass layoffs, unlike its industry peers? Is it in a better position than Alphabet, Meta, and Microsoft? If yes, what has Apple done that's letting it endure the current trend of layoffs?

Let's find out.

How Has Apple Avoided Mass Layoffs Like Meta, Google, and Microsoft?

  1. 1. Reduced Hiring During COVID-19

    From September 2019 to September 2022, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon doubled its employee count. Meanwhile, Meta's employee count grew by 94 percent, Google's employee count grew by 57 percent, and Microsoft's employee count rose by 53 percent.

    In real terms, Microsoft added 58,000 employees from 2020-2022, Google added 21,000 employees, and Meta added 13,000.

    In the same time period, Apple's employee count only grew by 20 percent, to about 1,64,000 employees globally. Apple's total increase in employees during 2020-2021 was around 17,000. From 2021-2022, it only added 6.5 percent more employees.

    This is called lean recruiting process, and helps avoid wastage of time and resources on an employer's part. It identifies parts of the process that will contribute directly to growth and trims out the parts of the hiring process that are wasteful or time-consuming.

    The last time Apple witnessed mass layoffs was more than 23 years ago, in 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to the company. At the time, Apple laid off 4,100 employees.

    Expand
  2. 2. Top Executives To Take Cuts

    According to Apple's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CEO Tim Cook will take a massive pay cut in 2022, following feedback from shareholders.

    Cook's salary will be cut by around 47 percent in 2023, down to "just $49 million". In 2021, Cook's salary was around $98 million.

    Additionally, most of Apple's hiring in 2020-22 was focused on hiring workers to manufacture their products as opposed to service providers. Apple's primary focus on creating hardware and tangible products over services means hiring workers that directly focuses their efforts on the part of the business that makes money. While it's still speculative subject to Apple's 2 February earnings call, reports state that Apple is more likely to target its higher executives for downsizing, over its retail or assembly line workforce.

    Further, Apple is likely to reduce some of the perks that it offers to employees. Unlike Google or Meta, Apple doesn't offer as many free lunches and other perks to its employees, and this will likely result in many of these perks being trimmed.

    Expand
  3. 3. Downsizing Through Not Rehiring

    Another step Apple is likely to take is to downsize by not rehiring after employee attrition. In simple terms, when employees quit or resign, they simply won't be replaced. This process will trim the company's workforce, but not nearly as much as its industry peers, who have laid off thousands of employees.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Reduced Hiring During COVID-19

From September 2019 to September 2022, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon doubled its employee count. Meanwhile, Meta's employee count grew by 94 percent, Google's employee count grew by 57 percent, and Microsoft's employee count rose by 53 percent.

In real terms, Microsoft added 58,000 employees from 2020-2022, Google added 21,000 employees, and Meta added 13,000.

In the same time period, Apple's employee count only grew by 20 percent, to about 1,64,000 employees globally. Apple's total increase in employees during 2020-2021 was around 17,000. From 2021-2022, it only added 6.5 percent more employees.

This is called lean recruiting process, and helps avoid wastage of time and resources on an employer's part. It identifies parts of the process that will contribute directly to growth and trims out the parts of the hiring process that are wasteful or time-consuming.

The last time Apple witnessed mass layoffs was more than 23 years ago, in 1997, when Steve Jobs returned to the company. At the time, Apple laid off 4,100 employees.

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Top Executives To Take Cuts

According to Apple's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CEO Tim Cook will take a massive pay cut in 2022, following feedback from shareholders.

Cook's salary will be cut by around 47 percent in 2023, down to "just $49 million". In 2021, Cook's salary was around $98 million.

Additionally, most of Apple's hiring in 2020-22 was focused on hiring workers to manufacture their products as opposed to service providers. Apple's primary focus on creating hardware and tangible products over services means hiring workers that directly focuses their efforts on the part of the business that makes money. While it's still speculative subject to Apple's 2 February earnings call, reports state that Apple is more likely to target its higher executives for downsizing, over its retail or assembly line workforce.

Further, Apple is likely to reduce some of the perks that it offers to employees. Unlike Google or Meta, Apple doesn't offer as many free lunches and other perks to its employees, and this will likely result in many of these perks being trimmed.

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Downsizing Through Not Rehiring

Another step Apple is likely to take is to downsize by not rehiring after employee attrition. In simple terms, when employees quit or resign, they simply won't be replaced. This process will trim the company's workforce, but not nearly as much as its industry peers, who have laid off thousands of employees.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Apple   Tim Cook   Microsoft 

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