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 recent days.
“More generally there is a growing level of dissatisfaction among Apple executives and employees, and a greater willingness to explore leaving,” says 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.”
A month ago, 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 says 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 says: “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.”
Apple PR declined to comment on this story.