Apple Engineers Want Out, Say Recruiters

Apple engineersjoebustillosApple engineers in 2011

Silicon Valley recruiters and former Apple employees say Apple hardware engineers are sending out more resumes than ever before, according to Reuters reporters Porrnima Gupta and Peter Henderson.

The reason: under CEO Tim Cook, Apple is not the company it used to be under Steve Jobs.

One “recruiter with ties to Apple” told Gupta and Henderson, “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.”

Gupta and Henderson’s report jibes with what we’ve heard from the startup investor community and close Apple-watcher John Gruber.

A big part of being a Silicon Valley venture capitalist is helping portfolio startups recruit talented engineers and executives.

That means a lot of poaching from more established Valley technology companies.

For years, one company that VCs did not bother with much was Apple.

The company had a reputation for hanging onto its employees for decades despite minimal title inflation, lower pay, and fewer perks.

Apple’s reputation is starting to change, two venture capitalists told us in April.

“More generally there is a growing level of dissatisfaction among Apple executives and employees, and a greater willingness to explore leaving,” said one investor.

Another VC told us that his firm has recently seen a noticeable increase of resumes coming in from people at Apple.

After speaking with some of these job-seekers, this source says the cause for the increase is two-fold: startups are paying more and “Apple culture has started to change with the new leadership on top.”

In March, top Apple reporter/analyst John Gruber of Daring Fireball said that retention has become “the single biggest problem that Apple faces, and almost nobody is talking about.”

He said: “I think if there’s going to be a problem coming up with big new things I think it’s more likely a draining of really bright engineering and design talent at the rank and file level.”

Gruber is a useful source on this topic, because he’s very plugged-in with Apple employees, and he does not have a reputation for being an Apple alarmist.

Reached via email, Gruber said that in the month or so since he sounded the alarm, departures from Apple have not “accelerated.”

“But it hasn’t slowed down either.”

Gruber said: “The consensus among the people I’ve spoken to is that this is in no way a “rats leaving a sinking ship” scenario, but rather the inevitable churn of talented people capitalising on the success of the company.”

“Apple employees are in high demand, pure and simple. That’s why retention is going to be such a tricky problem for the company.”

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