In a matter of moments on Tuesday, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw more than $30 billion wiped off its stock market value due to coronavirus chaos. The iPhone maker updated investors that its revenue would take a hit this quarter because of declining sales in China, and a production slowdown.
Apple’s stock took the brunt of this report, closing the day down 2%. On the same day though, Fortune released its list of the 100 best companies to work in and Apple was nowhere to be seen.
In fact, not a single member of the infamous Big Tech group made the cut, which includes Apple, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL).
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Big Tech has big problems
Among the names of Fortune’s list of best companies were the likes of Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), and American Express (NYSE: AXP), along with other high-flying companies.
Of course, one could argue that being a nice place to work means nothing when Big Tech is worth a collective $5 trillion, but such a culture cannot last long and the cracks are already beginning to show.
The most high profile examples of unhappy work culture surely go to Amazon and Google. The seams certainly began to unravel for Google’s parent Alphabet in 2019 following a litany of sexual misconduct suits, confidential information leaks, and employee strikes. The company pays millions in lawsuits and employee turnover every year and has drawn the ire of antitrust regulators in the process.
Amazon, on the other hand, is well known for its mistreatment of employees, especially at its all-important fulfillment centers. In corporate America, the only other company so scrutinized for how it treats employees is probably Uber (NYSE: UBER), which tries not to class its employees as employees at all. Several investigations into the company revealed that workers were unhappy, being punished for workplace injuries and the elimination of bonuses and stock options.
The other Big Tech companies aren’t much better, even if they don’t get the same spotlight. Women at Microsoft have reported hundreds of claims of harassment in the company, with many suits ongoing. Apple has massive employee turnover due to alleged mental health issues deriving from hostile work environments. And finally, Facebook has been littered with racial discrimination claims from black employees for years now, the most recent coming in November 2019.
And yet, these are the five richest tech companies in America.
What’s the problem then?
One might think that these companies are simply too big to fail now, and employee wellbeing is a non-factor at this point.
This may not be the case for much longer.
Research conducted last November by the University of Oxford found that happier workers are 13% more productive than those who receive no encouragement. Another study found this figure to be as high as 20%. The conclusion? Happier employees yield better results, which means better profits for a company, and happier investors. In fact, good company culture is one of the critical aspects of a business we look for when picking stocks here at MyWallSt.
With antitrust sentiment on the rise and the possibility of Big Tech being broken up for competition reasons, there should be a very real incentive for these companies to start treating its employees better. So perhaps it is time for big tech companies to step back, and reassess their tactics, and perhaps aim to make lists such as the Top 100 Places To Work, so that they can guarantee their time at the top won’t be hindered by employee dissatisfaction.
MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Read our full disclosure policy here.
Editor at MyWallSt
Jamie is the Content Editor here at MyWallSt. His favorite stock is Apple, which is also the first stock he ever bought. Jamie is not only a big fan of its products, but he believes that the tech giant has a whole lot more to give the world, and hasn't even scraped the surface of its potential.