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Apple has managed to avoid joining the wave of mass layoffs at other tech giants, with its slower rate of hiring allowing it to avoid issues that Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon have run into with high employee headcounts.
Following Meta's 11,000 job cut warning in November, the layoffs at tech giants has seen thousands go out of work. Microsoft is axing 10,000 employees, Google's doing the same for 12,000 employees, and Amazon's set to lay off 18,000.
In a profile in the Wall Street Journal, it is proposed that Apple has yet to join the rest of the group with a major layoffs round, due to a combination of a resilient business and a slower rate of hiring.
From September 2019 to September 2022, Apple's headcount grew 20% to 164,000 full-time employees. By comparison, rivals turned up the heat on hiring, with Microsoft swelling by 53%, Alphabet by 57%, and Meta by 94% during the same general period.
Apple isn't immune to the market, with its December quarter thought to be rougher than usual due to manufacturing issues in China. Meanwhile, in its retail channels outside of Apple Stores, such as at Best Buy locations, non-seasonal employees are being given a thirty-day notice about their rights relating to a layoff.
As for its more direct workforce, there is still an expectation that Apple will try to reduce its headcount. According to senior research analyst Tom Forte of D.A. Davidson & Co, reductions could be made simply through employee attrition, namely not replacing workers who decide to leave.
There is also the possibility that Apple could make cuts or changes to employee perks. It already doesn't provide free lunches to employees located on its corporate campus, something offered by Google and Meta to their workforces, but other benefit areas could face cost-reductions.
The last time Apple performed a mass layoff was in 1997, at the time of co-founder Steve Jobs' return to the organization. At that time, approximately 4,100 employees were axed to cut costs.