How Apple Has Steered Clear Of Layoffs Amidst Big Tech Job Cuts

With the recent layoff announcements, you will notice that Apple has been able to downsize its tech workforce by 68,000 employees by 2023. It is quite evident that one company is noticeably missing from the long list of downsized workers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple, the maker of the iPhone, experienced a significant hit to its market capitalization in 2022, with a decrease of 27% in its share price throughout the same year. However, it is not an anomaly amidst the economic downturn. Apple is expected to report a decline in its quarterly sales for the first time in three years.

During the layoffs that affected its peers such as Meta and Google, Apple announced in January that CEO Tim Cook would be taking a salary reduction. Unlike other Big Tech companies, Cook did not aggressively hire during the pandemic.

Tim Cook’s Pay Cut

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the CEO will experience a decrease of over 40% in pay. Cook’s target annual compensation for 2023 is set at $49 million, which is a reduction from the $84 million earned last year.

The CEO billionaire agreed that it should be backscaled–despite the fact that stockholders ended up approving his pay package, with 64.4% voting in support. Institutional Shareholder Services, an advisory firm, reported that shareholders of Apple expressed significant concerns regarding the magnitude and design of the package.

Instead of bearing the brunt of job losses, employees were not held responsible for the decisions made by the executives. Neither Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, nor Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, took public accountability for their purported missteps, which led to the respective layoffs.

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, made an announcement last Friday regarding the termination of 12,000 employees. Pichai, in a memo sent to all employees regarding the downsizing, took complete accountability for the choices that resulted in this outcome. Furthermore, he acknowledged that over the past two years, the company has experienced significant periods of expansion. To support and sustain this growth, the company recruited individuals based on a different economic circumstance than the one currently being confronted.

I expected to take responsibility for this and I was wrong. Our revenue has been significantly lower due to the loss of advertising signals and increased competition caused by the macroeconomic downturn. However, online commerce has only returned to the previous trends. “He gave reasons for the job cuts” is not the only explanation. In a memo to his staff, Zuckerberg announced in November that he would be laying off 11,000 people, which represents approximately 13% of his workforce.

Recruiters hired 100 iPhone makers in August. The company reported that it employed a total of 164,000 full-time workers in both its retail and corporate divisions in September 2022. While there was a surge in hiring in Silicon Valley during the pandemic, Apple added fewer than 7,000 jobs in 2020. Compared to other Big Tech companies, Apple has generally followed the same hiring rate since 2016 and has scaled its workforce at a relatively slow pace.

The Rest Of Big Tech—Not So Much

The technology companies currently experiencing layoffs hired actively during their pandemic—and even prior to it.

In 2021, Alphabet recruited 21,000 staff members and in 2020, it employed over 16,000 new workers. The organization experienced an increase of more than 20% in 2018 and 2019, as reported by CNBC. Ever since 2013, Alphabet has consistently been enlarging its workforce by at least 10% every year.

Over the past two years, the company’s history witnessed its biggest growth as it added an additional 13,000 employees to its payroll. This growth was primarily driven by the expansion of its social media platform, which saw an increase of 30% in headcount. Since 2012, Meta has consistently expanded its workforce, adding thousands of workers each year.

Amazon has begun implementing its strategy to lay off over 18,000 white-collar workers. Following Walmart, the e-commerce giant hired around 500,000 employees, making it the second-largest employer in the United States in 2021, as reported by GeekWire. The company further expanded its workforce by 310,000 individuals a year later. Prior to announcing its downsizing, Amazon had a total of 1.5 million employees, which included both corporate and warehouse staff.