These incentives are given through shares and reach up to $ 180,000 in some cases.
Apple Inc. has given unusual and significant stock bonuses to some engineers in an effort to retain talent, seeking to avoid defections to tech rivals like Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc.
Last week, the company informed some silicon design engineers, hardware and select software and operations groups of the extraordinary bonuses, which are issued as units of restricted shares, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The shares are awarded for four years , providing an incentive to stay at the iPhone maker.
The bonuses, which came as a surprise to those who received them, have ranged from about $ 50,000 to as much as $ 180,000 in some cases.
Many of the engineers received amounts of about $ 80,000, $ 100,000 or $ 120. 000 in shares, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the program is not public.
The benefit was presented by managers as a reward for high-performing workers.
A representative for the Cupertino, California-based company declined to comment.
Apple is waging a talent war with companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, and Meta is looming as a particular threat.
Meta has hired about 100 Apple engineers in recent months, but it hasn’t been a one-way street: Apple has also attracted key Meta employees.
The two companies are likely to become staunch rivals in the realm of virtual and augmented reality headsets and smartwatches, while both plan to launch major hardware products over the next two years.
The payments are not part of Apple’s normal compensation packages, which include a base salary, units of shares, and a cash bonus.
Apple sometimes gives additional cash bonuses to employees, but the amount of the latest stock grants was atypical and surprisingly timely, the people said.
They were awarded to between 10% and 20% of the engineers in the corresponding divisions.
The program upset some engineers who received no action and believe that the selection process is arbitrary.
The value of some of the bonuses is equal to the annual stock award given to some engineering directors. And its value may increase if Apple’s share price continues to rise.
The shares have gained 36% this year, putting the company’s market capitalization at nearly $ 3 trillion.
Meta, for its part, has redoubled its efforts to attract engineering talent from Apple’s augmented reality, artificial intelligence, software and hardware divisions.
The social media giant, which operates Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has offered significant pay increases in its attempt to reorient its activity towards hardware and the so-called metaverse.
The talent drain has affected other areas as well, including Apple’s self-driving car team.
The company needs to maintain its engineering prowess while working on various next-generation devices, such as the automobile, virtual and augmented reality headsets, and future versions of the iPhone.
At the same time, pressure from Apple to return to the office has affected some employees, leading to the defection of engineers.
Although the company has pushed back the deadline for staff to return, it is taking a tougher line on face-to-face work than some of its tech peers.
Apple has said it expects company employees to work from the office at least three days a week, while hardware engineers will have to come four to five days a week.
Meta and other companies pretend to be more lax with their policies. But Apple acknowledged this month that workers will likely be staying home for the foreseeable future.
After eliminating the return-to-office deadline, Apple said it would award $ 1,000 bonuses to all corporate, retail and service employees so they can purchase home equipment.