Actually, Sometimes It Sucks To Work At Apple – Here's Why

apple campus

Apple’s products may be insanely great, but that doesn’t mean the company is always an insanely great place to work.

To find out more about the downsides of working at Apple we turned to Glassdoor.com, a job website that asks employees from thousands of companies to review their employers anonymously.

We went through hundreds of reviews on Glassdoor from current and former Apple employees over the past year and pulled out some of the more common complaints.

The crazy amount of secrecy at Apple often makes it harder to get work done.

It's no secret that Apple is an incredibly secretive company and only intends to get more secretive in the future. Apparently this drives some employees at the company crazy.

One Apple inventory specialist wrote that the 'need for secrecy sometimes means doing work twice when changes happen in schedule or releases.' Another employee who works as an engineering product manager in Cupertino griped that 'the need for secrecy makes for special challenges in trying to coordinate cross-functionally.'

Some employees noted that on a more basic level, excessive secrecy makes it impossible to know exactly why you've been asked to do a certain assignment. Your only option is just to do it blindly.

Source: Glassdoor.com

You have to deal with too many coworkers who are arrogant.

Some current and former employees complained about dealing with coworkers who are arrogant. As one senior software engineer put it, 'Most engineers have an inflated view of their abilities and it shows in their attitude.'

Source: Glassdoor.com

The HR department at Apple is totally useless.

Based on the employee reviews we read, it looks like Apple's human resources department leaves much to be desired. One manager at Cupertino said that 'HR is useless,' and several employees complained that performance reviews take forever, if they happen at all.

Source: Glassdoor.com

Apple has lousy perks, at least compared to other tech companies.

Many employees complained about Apple's perks, or the lack of them. One QA engineer said there were no free lunches or gyms at Apple, while a software engineer said the perks were definitely not on par with those offered at Google or Facebook.

Then again, Apple's philosophy all along has been that the opportunity to do great work that can impact people should be viewed as the ultimate perk. Still, it seems some employees want more.

Source: Glassdoor.com

There is no such thing as work/life balance at Apple.

Employees from departments throughout the company ranging from retail advisors to engineering managers complained of long hours and inflexible schedules that make it all but impossible to attain some semblance of work/life balance.

As one current engineer put it, 'It's like wearing a badge of honour to diss your family in favour of a weekend at the office. Clearly the solution is to hire more personnel, but why do that when you can work your engineers 6-7 days a week 6-8 months out of the year.'

Source: Glassdoor.com

Promotions are really hard to come by at Apple and raises are small or non-existent

Several employees expressed frustration at how hard it can be to land a promotion at Apple.

As one production designer in Cupertino explained, 'There is almost zero opportunity to move up -- even if your the best. Apple is plagued with hiring externally instead of promoting internally. recruiters WILL low ball you if your offered a spot, so be prepared for a fight.'

To make matters worse, some also complained that it's difficult just to get a raise. 'Raises are small or non-existent,' wrote one software QA engineer at the company.

Source: Glassdoor.com

The salaries often aren't that good compared to what you can get elsewhere in the industry.

Low salaries were a particularly common complaint from Apple employees on Glassdoor, primarily from those who identified as working in Apple's retail stores, but also from business specialists, IT professionals and others at the company. That said, many positions at Apple do pay better than average.

Source: Glassdoor.com

Bureaucracy is starting to creep in at Apple.

Multiple employees have complained in recent months that bureaucracy is starting to creep in at Apple, making it a less pleasant place to work. One software engineer complained in May of 'having to deal with growing and encroaching bureaucracy.'

This matches up with a recent report from Fortune's Adam Lashinsky that certain divisions in Apple feel they are being interfered with more by executives now than when Steve Jobs was in charge.

Source: Glassdoor.com

Apple has a middle management problem.

There weren't any complaints about Apple's top executives as far as we could see, but several employees did express frustration with middle management at the company.

As one Apple campus representative wrote, 'Senior management was great, but middle manager was a nuisance.' Another employee, identified as a global commodity manager, put it even more strongly than that, noting that there is a 'lack of experienced middle level manager, making organic long-term development for the entire company.. somehow hard.'

Source: Glassdoor.com

Good ideas occasionally get stolen and attributed to others at the company.

Steve Jobs was fond of taking other people's ideas at the company and effectively claiming them as his own (intentionally or not) and it seems this tradition has spread to other employees at Apple.

One Apple senior engineer noted, 'Good ideas are always welcome, but don't act surprised when yours are put down at first and later get presented by somebody else than you, in a meeting where you are not invited.' Ouch!

Source: Glassdoor.com

There is absolutely no tolerance for anything short of your A-game.

There were more than a few frustrated employees noting in their reviews that Apple has zero tolerance for mediocrity, which only adds to the stress of working at the company.

As one employee wrote, 'There is no room for mediocrity's at Apple. If you're not an 'A' performer, it will become apparent all too soon and you'll be down the road at Google.'

More than most of the other complaints on this list though, you could argue this is actually one of Apple's big strengths. Steve Jobs always said he wanted grade A players, and it seemed to work out pretty well for the company.

Source: Glassdoor.com

On the bright side, at least many of Apple's employees can look forward to getting an incredible new campus...

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