Apple Engineers Want Out, Say Recruiters; “Apple culture has started to change with the new leadership on top.”

Apple Engineers Want Out, Say Recruiters

NICHOLAS CARLSON AUG. 22, 2013, 10:26 AM 8,438 9

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 capitalizing 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.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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