COMP NEWS – Despite record profits, Silicon Valley has been undergoing an employee retention crisis. The Great Resignation has threatened tech companies with wide-scale talent migrations over the removal of remote work policies that have become massively popular in the wake of COVID-19. Many of those same companies face another challenge – discontented workers who feel beleaguered by low pay.
In the past few months, several top tech firms faced mini-revolts from employees who feel underappreciated and who argued that lagging compensation represented a bigger irritant than work-from-home policies. While the staffers often earn wages north of six figures—well above national averages—their services are in high demand.
The compensation backlash arrives at a particularly inopportune time for large tech companies, which are struggling with sagging profits, fallout from the first-in-a-decade bear market, and competition for labor from the fast-growing crypto sector. Meta, Uber, and Netflix, among others, have committed in recent weeks to trimming budgets and scaling back on hiring.
Frustrations with low employee pay are further compounding the tension around on-site and hybrid work models. Employees forced into mandatory in-office days are looking for options elsewhere, including even high-profile executives.
An Apple executive, machine learning director Ian Goodfellow, resigned in apparent protest of the company’s requirements for in-person work, which include gradually ramping up to a mandatory three days a week in the office by later this month. A tweet about Goodfellow’s resignation this weekend by The Verge’s Zoë Schiffer, who broke the news, garnered nearly 30,000 interactions.
Goodfellow’s move came as hundreds of Apple employees signed a letter last weekprotesting hybrid work mandates at the company, arguing the tech giant has proved it can function at a high level while staffers labor from home, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, a newfound remote work evangelist, claimed in an interview with Time that “the office as we know it is over.” He forecasted a “true hybrid” model, in which employees gather sporadically as needed.
The Great Resignation continues to be a multi-faceted phenomenon surrounding quality-of-life issues, covering far more than just financial remuneration and workspace preferences. Time won’t be the only thing to tell if companies can muscle through the discontent – cash will be too.
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