Apple's Silicon Valley hiring issues prompts office expansion elsewhere

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2021
Apple's need to hire the best and brightest people to its workforce has been a challenge, with the high cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area apparently pushing the iPhone maker to embrace decentralization.




Hiring in Silicon Valley is notoriously difficult due to the high cost of living in the area. It appears that the expensive living costs for the region are making it extremely hard for Apple's hiring teams, according to Bloomberg's "Power On" newsletter on Sunday.

With executives knowing that hiring and keeping talent is essential to the company's future, Apple is reportedly looking at other ways to expand its workforce with diversity in mind. Engineers have complained of the living costs in the area, but diversity is a bigger problem for recruiters.

So far, the number of employees Apple has employed from underrepresented communities has grown by 64% in the last five years. However, it acknowledges there's more work to be done, but geography is a problem for hiring.

Since Apple can no longer hope more employees will move towards the Apple Park HQ, Apple instead has to go to areas where its potential workforce actually lives, or to areas where it is cheaper to live.

The realization of a decentralized workforce only really came about for Apple's top brass recently, though some members had apparently been pushing for it for years. Johny Srouji, in charge of Apple's custom silicon, was reportedly a strong proponent of the shift, with his group opening offices in many locations, including expansion into Europe, Asia, and within the United States.

Eddy Cue also pushed for decentralization, including offices in Los Angeles and Nashville. COO Jeff Williams has also championed the cost-benefit of more offices, while retail and HR lead Deirdre O'Brien has talked about diversity benefits.

While the company has already created many offices around the world, it is pushing to increase its footprint globally, with quite a few new campuses in development. It has paid out for new office space in Cork, Ireland, as well as an expansion of its New York City offices, and has put 1 billion euro towards a silicon design center in Germany.

It also started the construction of a new billion-dollar campus in Austin, Texas in 2019. In Raleigh, North Carolina, Apple is planning further expansion including a $1 billion engineering hub, in part assisted by $845 million in tax breaks over 39 years.

Remote working continues to be a benefit that many Apple employees still want to use, with one June survey revealing nearly 90% of respondents strongly agreeing with the statement "location-flexible working options are a very important issue to me." Over 58% of Apple employees said they were concerned about colleagues leaving due to a lack of flexible work arrangements, while over 36% said they were concerned that they would have to leave themselves.

In June, Apple announced a plan for employees to return to offices for three days a week starting in September. It prompted some Apple staff to write to Apple's leadership asking for more options.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,149member
    In today's day and age, decentralisation is the way to go. Re-location to far off places should only be required only if absolutely necessary or if the job holder actually wants to move. Some will, but the older and more established the hire, the more difficult it is for them to up and move. 

    A computer scientist friend of mine spent years being head hunted and deployed all over the world. It sounds nice to have a company contract you and provide a mansion for you and your family in Miami for a couple of years, schooling for kids etc included etc but there comes a point when you just want to be 'home'. 

    COVID has forced companies to adapt even more to the notion of decentralisation but for many multinationals it was already a 'perk' of hard to fill positions to work in places that were not 'too far' from home and where quality of life is relatively high. Moving might be necessary to a degree but not to unrealistic destinations with administrative, cultural or language barriers to manage. 

    Cork is close enough to most of western Europe for workers to relocate although there are complaints about the cost of living there too. Most Europeans would have no issues relocating within the EU. Of course, for obvious reasons. Most companies (Apple included) have R&D centres dotted around the world and if Apple has decided to expand its footprint, it's a step in the right direction. Especially as competing companies offering similar positions are offering positions that aren't too far from applicants' places of current residence. 


    edited July 2021 dysamoriaAlex_Vmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 2 of 24
    indieshackindieshack Posts: 316member
    It’s not difficult to see why Apple wants everyone centralized - it’s more efficient than managing wfh. It probably would have helped their case if they’d designed the new Apple Park building offices with input from staff, instead they just went for massive open plan which most workers understandably hate. Apple like other software companies have been slowly spreading their tentacles to Southern Cal and eastwards , presumably they’ll need to prioritize that expansion. Every dev I personally know who works in the Bay Area hates being there and wants to move out. 
    Alex_V
  • Reply 3 of 24
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Does this mean that gentrification is finally becoming a bit of a problem for some of the corporations involved in driving it? Maybe Apple should use some of its lobbying power to attack the root of the problem.

    That and modification of the stupid open floor plan design of their wealth-brag main building...
  • Reply 4 of 24
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,586member
    Working from home can very much be a part of decentralisation, since workers can be located anywhere. But Cook apparently doesn't want to give that choice to the people that make Apple Apple. Therefore they are enduring issues of their own making.

    Also proves wrong all those rabid fanboys who say "Employees who don't like working in the office? Ha! Fire them! Apple will easily replace them!" look pretty ignorant, since Apple is now struggling to get enough hires. It's very much a worker's economy right now, and apparently Cook is a combination of apathetic toward his employees, too far removed from reality to realise the shift in the economy, and sluggish to make the same changes that every other tech company is doing; to make Apple a more attractive place to work. It's not the employees' fault that the spaceship apparently isn't a very good place to work.
    edited July 2021 muthuk_vanalingamPetrolDavedee_deetyler82
  • Reply 5 of 24
    dee_deedee_dee Posts: 80member
    I called it.  The spaceship was a stupid idea. Sure it looks cool but was obviously a vanity project without considering the long term feasibility. A rare misstep for Steve Jobs.  Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    chemengin1
  • Reply 6 of 24
    xbitxbit Posts: 340member
    dee_dee said:
    I called it.  The spaceship was a stupid idea. Sure it looks cool but was obviously a vanity project without considering the long term feasibility. A rare misstep for Steve Jobs.  Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    It does feel like an error with hindsight. It's a millstone around Apple's neck right now.

    However, expanding in Cork is such a great move right now. With the UK out of the EU, Ireland is an attractive prospect for talented tech graduates from across Europe.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,984member
    xbit said:

    However, expanding in Cork is such a great move right now. With the UK out of the EU, Ireland is an attractive prospect for talented tech graduates from across Europe.
    How on earth do you figure that?
  • Reply 8 of 24
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,726moderator
    dee_dee said:
    I called it.  The spaceship was a stupid idea. Sure it looks cool but was obviously a vanity project without considering the long term feasibility. A rare misstep for Steve Jobs.  Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    They built the spaceship because they were running out of space in their old HQ and had to keep renting more and more buildings:

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/08/apple_planning_massive_12000_capacity_spaceship_campus_in_cupertino

    The spaceship campus also has limited capacity, they couldn't fit another 10,000 employees in it.

    Apple is building a campus in Texas and if 'everyone moves to Texas' they'll quickly have the same housing problems:

    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/11/apple-expands-in-austin/

    "Apple in Austin
    Apple has broken ground on its new $1 billion, 3-million-square-foot campus. The campus will initially house 5,000 employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000, and is expected to open in 2022."

    "Apple is on track to contribute $350 billion to the US economy between 2018 and 2023, and during that time will hire an additional 20,000 employees in cities across the country."

    This was announced before the pandemic.

    The Bloomberg article is just another hit piece from Mark Gurman. He talks about employee salaries being an issue. Even if they had 30,000 employees making $200k, that's $6b for a company that makes $275b in revenue and has nearly $200b in cash.

    - Apple is embracing hybrid work and offering fair working policies for extremely well paid jobs
    - a lot of Apple's employees can't feasibly work remotely, especially in hardware. Facebook/Google/Microsoft are mostly software.
    - Apple is expanding globally and has been before the pandemic
    edited July 2021
  • Reply 9 of 24
    dee_dee said: Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    And then discovering that Texas probably has the worst electrical grid in the nation and a completely psycho state legislature. Have fun! 
    tyler82danox
  • Reply 10 of 24
    xbitxbit Posts: 340member
    crowley said:
    xbit said:

    However, expanding in Cork is such a great move right now. With the UK out of the EU, Ireland is an attractive prospect for talented tech graduates from across Europe.
    How on earth do you figure that?
    The UK used to absorb the best tech talent from across Europe due the relatively high living standards, wages and English being the lingua franca of STEM. With working in the UK becoming more difficult (especially for those wishing to bring loved ones with them), Ireland becomes an attractive proposition. 
  • Reply 11 of 24
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 182member
    dee_dee said: Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    And then discovering that Texas probably has the worst electrical grid in the nation and a completely psycho state legislature. Have fun! 

    Good thing California doesn't have things like rolling blackouts.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    spacekidspacekid Posts: 182member
    More likely a result of stupid and oppressive policies in the San Francisco area and California are forcing many people out of the area and state.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,984member
    xbit said:
    crowley said:
    xbit said:

    However, expanding in Cork is such a great move right now. With the UK out of the EU, Ireland is an attractive prospect for talented tech graduates from across Europe.
    How on earth do you figure that?
    The UK used to absorb the best tech talent from across Europe due the relatively high living standards, wages and English being the lingua franca of STEM. With working in the UK becoming more difficult (especially for those wishing to bring loved ones with them), Ireland becomes an attractive proposition. 
    Cork might get a slight boost, as will other regional hot areas like Tallin and Bratislava, but it seems unlikely to be major given that Ireland is far to the periphery of the union, Cork especially.  Paris or Berlin and their surrounds are far more likely to pick up the slack as they have the infrastructure, transport links, access to investment, university proximity, and everything else required.  English not really that much of a factor, people can and do speak English anywhere and everywhere, it was always London and Cambridge that were the draw (and still are).


  • Reply 14 of 24
    acejax805acejax805 Posts: 107member
    Ah, what's wrong Big Tech? Can't find people to hire in one of the most expensive places to live in the world when you pay them less than an adequate wage? Color me surprised.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,169member
    Apple's spaceship campus was largely a vision of Steve Jobs. One of his beliefs around creating "magic inducing" work environments was to provide as many opportunities for informal and incidental interactions to occur between employees while on-campus. This forced commingling was thought to encourage employees to break out of their self imposed isolation and self-centeredness and have accidental, but occasionally eye opening and insightful, interactions with fellow employees whom they would not normally run into as part of their narrower normal job function. 

    Was Steve's thought process too high minded for the "What's in it for me?" thinking that pervades (or still persists?) our current society? Maybe. The pandemic has certainly driven more people into isolation, shifted focus inward, and has greatly reduced their sphere of exposure to immediate coworkers to simply being a matrix of partially engaged talking heads on a flat screen. Of course senior executives would prefer that employees refer to their coworkers as "teammates" that are all engaged in holding up their part of the collective teamwork being carried out on a shared field of play they call the company's "campus." It's no longer a "facility," a "factory," or an "office building," it's a campus just like their college days where frisbees are being thrown across the quad by carefree students. At least that's what the messaging and the purposefully and strategically created work environments are meant to convey. 

    The reality for Apple and its employees, aka teams, is that being in the SF Bay area has a lot of opportunities and a lot of tradeoffs. Tradeoffs include stratospheric housing prices and horrible commutes. These tradeoffs are not unique to Apple and are not unique to the SF Bay area. Anyone leaving Cupertino and moving to Austin, Boston, RTP (North Carolina), Atlanta, LA, DC, and several other "high tech" job centers are going to face similar tradeoffs, perhaps not at the same level, but of sufficient magnitude to keep the grind in the daily grind fully intact. Apple can't "fix" the SF Bay area problems, and in fact, will inevitably drag some of the contagions from that area to their new locations. Housing prices, congestion, and commute times will absolutely go up in their new locations.  

    I'm not going to pick sides on this argument because I think that the pandemic simply highlighted issues that have existed for many decades in many locations around the world. It's always been a big ongoing social experiment and we've not yet discovered the perfect solution to keeping everyone happy and productive and landed on a work-life balance that actually works for them. I think that despite all of the great lengths that high minded planners have gone to in trying to come up with to create the perfect hamster cage for their workers, nothing will satisfy everyone in all cases.

    One possible approach, the one that I chose, was for me to decide what kind of work-life balance I wanted and pick a job and location that I thought would provide an opportunity for it to happen. After a few tries, and with consideration for a working partner that has similar needs as well, I think I've finally settled on something that worked out. Trying to come up with a reasonable solution that satisfies the needs of one, two, or a small family of people is difficult enough, but manageable. For a company like Apple, trying to come up with a one-size-fits-all solution that satisfies hundreds of thousands of employees and their families is impossible. Yeah, Apple could enforce an edict or fall back to a take-it-or-leave-it attitude and deal with the consequences. That's an easy way out and is a card that many companies have played in the past and will play now. A more empathic approach would be to engage with employees to see if there are compromise or hybrid solutions. It sounds like Apple is following the latter model, but it will never be enough for everyone.

    Apple can't fix all your problems. There are some things you have to fix for yourself. 
  • Reply 16 of 24
    Above_The_GodsAbove_The_Gods Posts: 25unconfirmed, member
    Cupertino is boring as hell.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Above_The_GodsAbove_The_Gods Posts: 25unconfirmed, member
    Marvin said:
    dee_dee said:
    I called it.  The spaceship was a stupid idea. Sure it looks cool but was obviously a vanity project without considering the long term feasibility. A rare misstep for Steve Jobs.  Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    They built the spaceship because they were running out of space in their old HQ and had to keep renting more and more buildings:

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/08/apple_planning_massive_12000_capacity_spaceship_campus_in_cupertino

    The spaceship campus also has limited capacity, they couldn't fit another 10,000 employees in it.

    Apple is building a campus in Texas and if 'everyone moves to Texas' they'll quickly have the same housing problems:

    https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/11/apple-expands-in-austin/

    "Apple in Austin
    Apple has broken ground on its new $1 billion, 3-million-square-foot campus. The campus will initially house 5,000 employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000, and is expected to open in 2022."

    "Apple is on track to contribute $350 billion to the US economy between 2018 and 2023, and during that time will hire an additional 20,000 employees in cities across the country."

    This was announced before the pandemic.

    The Bloomberg article is just another hit piece from Mark Gurman. He talks about employee salaries being an issue. Even if they had 30,000 employees making $200k, that's $6b for a company that makes $275b in revenue and has nearly $200b in cash.

    - Apple is embracing hybrid work and offering fair working policies for extremely well paid jobs
    - a lot of Apple's employees can't feasibly work remotely, especially in hardware. Facebook/Google/Microsoft are mostly software.
    - Apple is expanding globally and has been before the pandemic
    Austin's "housing problems" doesn't apply to techies. It's much cheaper there than the Bay Area. Cupertino median prices are >$2m.

    I personally don't believe in large scale HQs anymore. Once an industry becomes dominant in an area, the local governments becomes antagonistic towards them. Google had to pay a $200m "community funds" bribe + extra concessions to San Jośe to get their new campus approved. Companies are better off decentralizing instead of building out large scale HQs in a single area.
    edited July 2021
  • Reply 18 of 24
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 986member
    dee_dee said:
    Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    Apple hiring 5,000 in San Diego. 
    edited July 2021
  • Reply 19 of 24
    danoxdanox Posts: 837member
    spacekid said:
    dee_dee said: Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    And then discovering that Texas probably has the worst electrical grid in the nation and a completely psycho state legislature. Have fun! 

    Good thing California doesn't have things like rolling blackouts.
    What Texas doesn’t have is prop 13, lower car insurance or some of the best post secondary schools, but They have PIP….
  • Reply 20 of 24
    bleabbleab Posts: 23member
    Let me weiforegoneconclusion said:
    dee_dee said: Everyone is moving to Texas now to escape the insane prices of living in California. 
    And then discovering that Texas probably has the worst electrical grid in the nation and a completely psycho state legislature. Have fun! 
    Ha. Texas has a psycho state legislature but California doesn't? Get real.

    Incidentally, people forget that before the tech industry being dominated by first software and then data companies on the west coast and San Fran/Silicon Valley, the tech industry was dominated by hardware - electronics and semiconductor companies - and the center for that was Texas. Dell, DEC, EDS, AT&T and - of course - Texas Instruments! It is crazy that everyone thinks that the Texas economy is all fossil fuels and low wage jobs. It is the tech sector that keeps the Texas economy afloat during the energy boom and bust cycles. 

    No the Texas higher education system isn't the equal of California's, but who is really? So while Texas lacks a Cal Tech (or MIT and possibly a Northwestern) they nonetheless have the following great engineering schools in that state: Rice, Houston, Texas A&M, Texas, SMU, Baylor. Several good ones include Texas Tech, Trinity, North Texas, Abilene Christian and some branch campuses of A&M and Texas. A bunch more are at least average. No one else - besides, again, California - can match that quantity. As Apple is in fact primarily a hardware company as opposed to software/data companies like its competitors Microsoft and Google, they should absolutely have a massive presence in the Lone Star State. Not just to take advantage of all those engineering grads, but to raid experienced talent from the many other tech companies in that state. 
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