Foxconn has reportedly placed a recruitment freeze across most of its factories in China as the company slows production of the iPhone 5, the Financial Times reports. This is believed to be the first such freeze since 2009, and it’s seen as an emphasis of the “weakening demand” for some Apple products. But does the freeze really have anything to do with Apple’s devices?
Liu Kun, a company spokesman at Foxconn’s largest manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, told the FT that “none of the plants in mainland China have hiring plans.” Internal notices have been circulated around the company to halt hiring at least until the end of March.
A decrease in demand for the iPhone 5 is being blamed for the freeze, which has seen Foxconn’s demand for workers reach its lowest point in almost four years. Back in 2009, the company’s workforce was estimated at around 800,000 workers, but that figure rose to 1.2 million last year in preparation for the iPhone 5.
But is it really the iPhone 5’s fault?
Not according to Foxconn’s Bruce Liu, who has since told Bloomberg that the decision was not related to iPhone 5 production. According to Liu, Foxconn saw more workers returning after the Chinese New Year break than it was expecting, and so it needed to lose some staff.
In China, workers typically decide to switch jobs right after the New Year break, so employers prepare themselves for staff shortages when people don’t turn up for work. But Foxconn saw more workers returning this year than it did a year ago.
And a month-long freeze could have a big impact on Foxconn’s headcount. According to the FT, the average worker tenure at the company is less than 13 months, which means it could lose tens of thousands of staff in just that short space of time.
Source: Financial Times.