Apple ‘Lays Off Contractors’ Following Cook Pay Cut

Apple chief executive Tim Cook at WWDC 2020. Image credit: Apple

Apple reportedly cutting costs by laying off ‘hundreds’ of contract workers, after slashing Tim Cook’s pay by more than 40 percent

Apple has quietly begun firing third-party contractors, according to a report, following moves by other tech giants that have laid off thousands of workers.

Meanwhile, proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services advised shareholders to vote in favour of pay packages for top executives including chief executive Tim Cook, after Cook took a large pay cut.

The iPhone maker began to cut ties with hundreds of contractors in recent days, the New York Post reported.

Apple reportedly uses workers through three dozen staffing firms for project management, launch events and localisation efforts for tools such as Apple Maps.

Image credit: Apple

Contractors ‘fired’

The company hasn’t disclosed how many contractors it uses, but reports suggest the figure is in the thousands.

The Post report suggested the move was a cost-cutting measure and said Apple was actively firing contractors rather than waiting for 12- to 15-month contracts to expire.

Bloomberg said last August that Apple had laid off some contract staff.

Cook earlier this month told the Wall Street Journal he viewed layoffs as a “last resort kind of thing” and that the company was tightly managing costs.

Thus far Apple has avoided the mass layoffs announced by companies including Amazon, Google, Facebook parent Meta and Microsoft.

Slower growth

Teleconferencing firm Zoom, which benefited from the remote working trend during lockdowns, said earlier this month it would lay off about 15 percent of its staff.

But Apple hired at a far slower pace than other tech firms during the pandemic, with its staff growing only 20 percent from 2020 to 2022, while Amazon’s headcount nearly doubled and Alphabet grew by 60 percent.

ISS in a research note on Friday advised institutional investors to vote in favour of Cook’s compensation at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on 10 March, noting that Cook’s 2023 compensation target was reduced by more than 40 percent to $49 million (£41m).

Cook’s salary will also depend more on how well Apple’s shares fare compared to those of competitors, ISS noted.