No one’s career future is certain, but at least with Apple, your odds are a bit brighter
The career ladder
Apple has managed to buck the trend in the tech space recently.
Somehow, they have managed to keep most of their employees in jobs – and that is no mean feat. Until recently, most aspiring software engineers, or product designers would first gravitate towards getting a job with a tech giant.
There seemed no end to the good times – the companies were profitable, and forever expanding. Not only that, but they paid top-dollar to attract the finest out there, and backed that up with great bonuses, and perks.
But, this past year, we’ve noticed a change to that equilibrium. The pavements are not paved with as much gold as before. Working for a tech giant no longer means a job for life. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, even admitted as much recently in an interview.
With the notable exception of Apple, all the major tech companies have been making big lay-offs. And those that are lucky enough to avoid the wide-spread culling, are finding many of those once infamous ‘tech’ perks, one-by-one, being stripped away.
Turns out the old saying was right – there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The trend for letting staff go does not seem to be slowing down either. Both FaceBook, and Amazon have just entered round two of redundancies. And, it’s contagious. Where those two companies led, Google and Microsoft have followed.
But Apple, so far at least, has swerved the lay-off train – how?
We know Apple to be an extremely cautious firm. They always plan with an eye to the future, and often assume for the worse case scenario, not the best.
They are more than aware of the troubled waters in which we all sail. Also, the amount of money that Apple has in the bank, certainly acts as a pretty handy safety blanket.
Their stock price, even this year, has risen twenty percent. With approximately $165 billion on call, it offers them the luxury of time in best working out a winning strategy moving forwards.
Being able to steady the ship, has another knock-on effect, too.
If you were a young, hot, ambitious product designer, where would you currently be looking to first send your CV to? In not having to panic, and make massive job cuts, Apple will actually, almost indadvertedly, be creating a better future for themselves. They will end up with the best, as the best will be drawn to them with an eye to a secure future.
Even if other firms were to offer a better package right now, you have to admit, in that position, you’d be cautious. The phrase last-in-first-out exists for a reason. So, even if a rival company could rustle up a better job offer – would you take it?
Those halcyon days of a job for life, are gone. But, that’s not to mean that some form of career security is not still out there.
The redundancies I mentioned earlier were not small numbers. We’re not talking about hundreds – but tens-of-thousands. These are seriousnumbers, with serious implications for every one of those people unfortunate enough to have lost their job.
Those numbers are important. Of course, there will always be some hiring and firing. If Apple employs you, and you turn out to be useless at the job, of course, you’ll be shown the door. That much, stands to reason.
But when the layoffs are so big, well, that points to another problem, a more serious, endemic problem. Maybe the CEO’s, and boards of those companies, just don’t run a very good ship. The rot starts at the top.
Happy place to be
Anxiety is a horrid emotion. It’s also one that harms productivity. Could you honestly expect someone to arrive at work, and be one-hundred percent ‘on it’, if their main concern is, “will I still have a job tomorrow”?
Much like I said earlier, with Apple being in a position to attract the best, they are also placed best to make those people want to stay. We all crave a little certainty in our life. Certainly, knowing that you’ll more than likely still have a job next month has got to help with your mindset, creativity, and productivity.
Apple has been busy taking a fine-toothed-comb to their business recently. They have been looking to make sure they are not taking anything for granted. For instance, they are still handing out bonuses, but, changes have been made to help protect the bottom line.
Bonuses, and promotions, were always handed out twice-yearly. The bonus payments had normally landed in April and October. But, now, bonuses will only be paid out in October. These changes are not a total surprise, as those, in the software engineering and services departments, had already been shifted over to the once-a-year schedule.
So, for those at Apple, the bonuses are still coming, but just once a year. The full bonuses they were expecting will eventually drop in to their bank accounts, but now just annually. Again, the lesser of the possible evils, you could argue.
But surely, better this, than layoffs? So far, all we have heard from Cupertino is that, last summer, they paused hiring – that cautious approach shining through once again.
I wrote yesterday how even in the face of changes being forced upon them by new legislation, Apple has still managed to come out on top.
The same holds true with the current job scene. Being able to invest in the future, while your competitors are having to run for cover, means that you’ll be stronger on the other side. And there will be another side. We will come out of this recession.
And, when we do, Apple will inevitably end up with the cream of the crop too. An offer of a job at Apple almost comes with an unwritten promise – work for us now, and tomorrow.
While some may try to dazzle, or offer the golden carrot, knowing your job is secure, must be the best carrot out there.
Tim Cook and his immediate circle know what they are up to. None of their success has happened by luck, but rather by great management. Sure, they may still release some questionable products from time to time, but the basic core of Apple’s business has never been in better hands.
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