Apple work culture under Tim Cook gets critical review

Apple employees voice frustration with work culture under Tim Cook


Tim Cook
Not everyone is happy at Apple under CEO Tim Cook.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Maybe it was the standing desks. Apple employees are voicing growing discontent for the workplace under boss Tim Cook, according to employee surveys ranking the top 100 CEOs.

Cook’s spot on Glassdoor’s annual list was 96, down from 53 a year ago in what was the biggest fall for a tech CEO on the list.

Glassdoor surveys about 770,000 workers across a variety of industries for its annual Employee’s Choice Awards. Employees are asked to rate their work experience and weigh in on aspects like CEO leadership and regard for other senior executives.

Glassdoor’s ranking of Cook was based on 12,054 Apple employee reviews. There are a number of reoccurring answers in the Pros and Cons categories and not everyone saw the work culture in the same way.

There were 903 reviewers who griped about work-life balance, but 213 others said work-life balance was great. There were nearly 600 who described Apple as a “fun work environment.”

Cook still received a 91 percent approval rating, however CEOs in the top 10, including Eric Yuan of Zoom Video Communications, Boston Scientific’s Michael Mahoney, and DocuSign’s Daniel Springer, average 99 percent approval rating, according to Glassdoor’s findings.

Tim Cook
Summing up the pros and cons of life as an employee of Apple.
Screenshot: Glassdoor

Long hours and high expectations at Apple are legendary and obviously factor into what are arguably some of the most popular and important personal computing devices ever. Cook took over in 2011 shortly before the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, whose mercurial style and expectations for commitment to making the best products possible set a tone that likely continues today.

The main beef, according to the survey, centered around work culture.

One former or anonymous employee with more than five years with Apple had a short but blunt list of Cons that read: “No work life balance. Management does not care if you’re burnt out. Compared to other companies, the pay is below average.”

Asked what advice the employee would have for management, the employee said, “Some re-training might be in order because clearly, you have forgotten how to treat people.”

Apple has 80,000 employees and those surveyed felt team leaders reacted too slowly to feedback.

“When we read reviews on Glassdoor, employees criticize the culture of secrecy, high stress and necessity to keep to a chain of command,” Scott Dobroski, a community expert for Glassdoor, told Yahoo! Finance.


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