Apple has issued significant stock bonuses to some engineers as it attempts to stave off defections to Facebook owner Meta Platforms.
The company informed some engineers in hardware, silicon design, and select software and operations groups last week about the out-of-cycle bonuses, being issued as restricted stock units, Bloomberg reported. The payout will take place over four years, providing an incentive to remain with the iPhone maker.
The bonuses range from $50,000 (approx Rs 37.35 lakh) to $180,000 (approx Rs 1.34 crore). Many engineers received amounts amounting to $80,000 (approx Rs 59.76 lakh), $100,000 (approx Rs 74.71 lakh), or $120,000 (approx Rs 89.66 lakh) in shares, Bloomberg reported. Apple managers presented the perk as a reward for high performers.
Apple has been drawn into a talent war recently with other Silicon Valley companies with Meta Platforms emerging as a major threat. Meta has already hired around 100 Apple engineers in the past few months. However, Apple also has hit back, luring key Meta Platforms employees.
The two companies are likely to become rivals in augmented- and virtual-reality headsets and smartwatches with major hardware releases planned over the next two years.
The payouts are not a part of Apple’s normal compensation packages, which include a base salary, cash bonus, and stock units. Apple awards additional cash bonuses to employees some times, but the latest stock grants were atypical in size and its timing was also surprising, the Bloomberg report quoted sources as saying. The stock grants were handed to 10% to 20% of engineers in applicable divisions.
However, the bonus programme has irked some engineers who did not receive the shares, believing the selection process to be arbitrary. The value of some of the bonuses were equivalent to the annual stock grant given to some engineering managers. The value will rise if Apple’s stock continues its upward trajectory. Apple shares have risen 36% this year with the company’s market capitalisation standing at nearly $3 trillion.
Earlier reports suggested that Meta Platforms had stepped up its efforts to poach engineers from Apple’s artificial intelligence, augmented reality, software and hardware engineering divisions. The social media giant is offering hefty salary raises as it looks to refocus around hardware and its so-called metaverse.
Apple has been hit by a talent drain in other areas as well, including its self-driving car team.