In a previous life I worked in HR for a typical technology company; the kind that received millions from investors, spent it all trying to come up with an idea that worked, only to be sold for scraps to a company whose fortunes were better.
One of the unsung issues all fast growing companies have is personnel. Or, rather, the lack of qualified personnel to help the company reach its objectives, goals, and the product marketplace.
So it is with Apple. The company has tens of thousands of employees, many of them retail store wonks, but the most valuable are the engineers who design hardware and software. They’re well paid, in high demand, and, apparently, even with 1.5-billion people in China, somewhat scarce.
Apple has $100-billion in the bank and can afford to pay the best designers and engineers on planet earth, right? So, why is there a shortage of such talent at Apple? It’s that shortage which explains why Apple TV hasn’t been updated in years, and why new versions of both iOS and OS X often ship with a boatload of increasingly publicly berated bugs.
Apple doesn’t have enough qualified people to do all that Apple’s aging executives want the company to build and sell.
That brings up another personnel issue. Most of Apple’s executive staff have been in the executive ranks for many years if not decades. Where’s the new blood? Where are the women? In recent years, those of the female persuasion have logged many hours a week in public relations and human resources, but the most hair you’ll see on an Apple executive belongs to OS boss Craig Federighi.
Apple has a human resources problem. There are not enough qualified engineers, and not enough of a diverse workforce, especially at the executive level (visit any Apple Store and you’ll see plenty of women, each of whom will happily take you to a man when you ask a question beyond “how much is this?”).