What it’s Really Like Working for Apple
Empire Resume has recently described what it’s really like to work at Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Which company are we forgetting?
Answer: Apple, arguably the most powerful and enduring company of all the mega-tech firms we just named. Apple has often been named the world’s most valuable brand, and it has a devoted following of customers.
The ubiquitous company recently became the first publicly traded U.S. firm that’s worth $2 trillion. According to a company earnings report in January 2020, about 1.5 billion Apple products are now in use worldwide.
But what’s it like to work for Apple? Not many people know and for a good reason. Apple has developed a reputation for being very secretive about its work culture. Anonymous reports on websites like Quora provide a window into an incredibly intense, and sometimes bizarre, workplace.
Like all the other big tech companies, you’ll be very well compensated if you work for Apple. But according to some ex-employees, you may also have to sacrifice a good work/life balance for a company that demands near-perfection.
Empire Resume researched several reports and will let you know what it’s really like to work for Apple, one of the world’s most iconic companies.
Apple Reaches $2 Trillion in Market Value
Apple was founded in 1976 as a business partnership between Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. The company grew quickly, as sales between 1977 and 1980 grew by an average annual rate of a staggering 533%, according to Fast Company.
The company was involved primarily with personal computers for more than three decades. As the market changed in the 1990s, Apple faced low sales and stiff competition from its rival Microsoft.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 as CEO, the company began an epic run after he remade the firm’s philosophy. Apple started releasing a slew of new products, including the iMac, that brought it back to dominance.
Today, the company’s product line includes the iPhone, iPad, the Mac personal computer, AirPods, Apple Watch, and various other hardware, software, and consumer electronics that seem to be everywhere.
Apple’s worldwide annual revenue in fiscal year 2019 was $260 billion. The tech behemoth employs 137,000 full-time employees worldwide, and it operates 510 retail stores in 25 countries. Apple is kind of a big deal.
There don’t appear to be any signs of Apple’s growth slowing down. In August 2020, the company reached a market value of $2 trillion, the largest ever reached by an American company. Tim Cook, who took over as CEO from Jobs nine years ago, is now worth more than $1 billion. Cook is joined in his recent billionaire status by (no surprise) Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Salaries, Benefits, and Perks
In December 2019, Apple’s market value was $1.3 trillion. At the time, that meant Apple’s market value was higher than the entire GDP of some nations such as Mexico, Turkey, and Switzerland, according to figures from The World Bank.
Given how filthy rich Apple is, salary, benefits, and other perks for the company’s employees are pretty good.
PayScale estimates that Apple employees earn an average of $124,216 per year. Software Engineering Managers make the most, with an average of $162,188, and Technical Support Specialists earn the lowest at nearly $45,000. In its retail stores, a Mac Genius employee earns an average of almost $49,000.
To be expected, Apple also provides excellent benefits, such as comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance, on-site gyms and doctors, stock options, and paid maternity leave. Employees also get great discounts on Apple products.
A Secretive and Intense Work Culture
Apple is a multinational company, and it has a massive presence in the U.S. The tech giant directly employs about 90,000 workers in America, according to company figures from 2019. Since the iMac launch in 1998, Apple’s U.S. employment figures have grown by 1,500%.
For a company as big as Apple, there are a variety of departments and types of jobs. Corporate departments at Apple include Information Systems and Technology, Legal, HR and Recruiting, Finance, and Global Security. There are also several types of jobs at Apple retail stores. The company has an Apple store in 44 states and Washington, DC.
Apple’s corporate headquarters is in Cupertino, California, which many people say is the heart of Silicon Valley. The company opened a mega campus in 2017 known as Apple Park that people have nicknamed “the spaceship” because of its circular design.
So, what about the nitty-gritty of working for Apple?
Glassdoor has named the company as a Top 100 Best Place to Work every year since 2009. Like the other tech giants, though, recent controversies have sent it tumbling in Glassdoor’s rankings. In 2020, Apple was ranked No. 84.
The ironic thing about writing on what it’s like to work for Apple is not many people know. Many big companies are known to be secretive, but Apple has taken this policy to the extreme, according to several sources.
Business Insider delved through hundreds of Quora posts on what it’s like to work at Apple and found several anecdotes about the secrecy. Many employees claimed projects have code names, trash bins are monitored, and some offices have black curtains and frosted privacy windows.
Other employees said Apple takes considerable measures to protect its creative and intellectual properties. Employees can’t talk to their spouses and sometimes even co-workers about what they’re working on. Some employees claim they don’t even know what the final product of a project will look like until Apple launches it.
Along with the secrecy, anonymous Apple employees claim the pressure to perform is intense. One former Apple employee, Ben Farrell, wrote a long blog post describing why he left the company. In the post, Farrell said he’d once been hospitalized with a serious illness while working at Apple. Instead of receiving support from managers, they emailed him about presentations while he was in a hospital bed.
Insane Brand Loyalty
Not everything about working for Apple is so bad, though. For one thing, the company has a fanatical customer following.
Apple’s NPS Score in 2017 was 72, which is significantly higher than the average for a consumer electronics company. (NPS stands for Net Promoter Score, and it’s a widely used customer satisfaction benchmark. The scores range from -100 to 100 and measure how likely a customer is to recommend a company to a friend).
The tech giant’s customer loyalty also extends to its employees. Many Apple employees are just as loyal to the company as its rabid customer base. The company also uses eNPS, which measures employee satisfaction, and it maintains a high score for its industry.
Relenty says Apple employees are loyal for several reasons, including the significant discounts they get on company products, the ability to get raises without promotions, and the fact that workers are rewarded for team performance.
Like the other tech giants, Apple also receives its fair share of criticisms. The criticism has been getting more intense recently, as the Big 5 Tech companies have all seen sales skyrocket during the pandemic.
In late July 2020, Apple was among four big tech giants’ part of a U.S. Congressional hearing where politicians grilled the CEOs on anti-competitive practices, online misinformation, and privacy concerns.
As one of the world’s largest companies, Apple has become a frequent target of calls for anti-trust reform. Critics say the company thwarts and dominates smaller tech companies and has become a monopoly. Other criticisms of Apple include allegations of harsh labor practices at its factories in China.
How to Get a Job at Apple
Do you think what you have what it takes to work at Apple?
Sixty-five percent of reviewers on Glassdoor said they had a positive experience while interviewing for an Apple position. Many reviews say the interview process can be long and grueling, involving many phone screens, but it’s to be expected.
Networking is a great way to secure a job at Apple. According to Glassdoor, only 55% of Apple hires applied to the jobs online. The remainder landed the gigs through referrals from employees, recruiters, on-campus recruiting, and in-person. It makes sense to rely heavily on networking because Apple offers employees a cash incentive for every successful worker they refer.
Other smart ways to get a job at Apple include:
- Contribute an app to the Apple App Store. This is a sure-fire way to impress and get noticed by Apple recruiters.
- Participate in an online Apple Forum. Some people end up working at Apple after establishing themselves as experts on the company’s forums.
- Build something that Apple wants. A famous example of this is Dag Kittlaus, who became an Apple employee after he developed iPhone’s Siri, which was purchased by the company.
Apple isn’t Slowing Down
When it comes to the Big Tech companies, it seems most people either love them or hate them. The same goes for Apple.
The company has developed incredible customer and employee loyalty over the years. But at the same time, many people complain that Apple’s ultra-secretive work culture is too intense and leads to burnout.
Apple’s employee footprint continues to expand in the U.S., as the company has employees in nearly every state. The pandemic has decimated the global economy, but big tech companies like Apple have benefited and added jobs. As social distancing continues and more people spend time online, there’s been a surge in demand for the types of tech that Apple provides.
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Nick Pipitone is a freelance writer living in the Philadelphia area that contributes regularly for Empire Resume. He has covered business and management topics extensively throughout his career, and he enjoys rooting for Philly sports teams and getting lost in used bookstores.