Apple looks to attract young talent with new San Francisco office


235 Second St. might be Apple's new home in San Francisco.
Apple's San Francisco office.
Photo: Todd Johnson/SF Business Times

Apple has never been a company to offer the kind of perks that Google and others do — allowing its stock options and world-beating reputation to make up for the tech giant’s lack of indoor climbing walls and free food.

But a new report suggests that Apple may be slowly rethinking its approach to incentives. And it’s all beginning with San Francisco real-estate.

Specifically, Reuters claims that Apple’s opening of fancy new offices in San Francisco’s high-end South of Market neighborhood “marks a turning point in Apple’s willingness to accommodate workers, according to recruiters and former employees.”

News first broke about Apple’s first San Francisco offices in the middle of last year, just after Apple agreed a lease on the 76,000-square-feet space — designed to house 400-500 employees across two floors. The office is reported to be opening this summer.

Today’s article quotes several former Apple employees and executive search recruiters, who point out how the competitiveness of tech industry hiring is forcing Apple to step it game up.

“Apple’s attitude has always been that you have the privilege of working for Apple, and if you don’t want to do it, there’s someone around the corner who does,” said Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee who is now CEO of enterprise tech company Inkling. Today, MacInnis say, “they have to compete.”

Before leaving Apple in 2009, MacInnis says he spent three hours per day commuting from San Francisco to Apple HQ. The choice to open new offices in San Francisco and surrounding areas is reportedly an attempt to appeal to younger tech workers who want to live and work in a more vibrant location, rather than in Cupertino.

This isn’t the first report we’ve heard about Apple experiencing challenges to its traditional way of recruiting talent. Another recent report suggests that Apple’s user privacy policy, as well as its refusal to publish papers on its research, is causing it problems when it comes to hiring the best Artificial Intelligence researchers.

It would, of course, be silly to suggest that Apple’s not one of the top places to work in Silicon Valley. Still, it’s interesting to observe the ways in which it is modifying its approach to certain aspects of its philosophy in order to stay on top of tech talent wish-lists.

Just don’t expect wacky Google-style perks any time soon!