Apple is reportedly paying certain software and hardware engineers more than $200,000 in restricted stock units, known as “special retention grants.” The money move comes as competition intensifies between Apple and other tech giants over technologist talent.
This is Apple’s second round of bonuses to key players. In December, Bloomberg reported that the company had shelled out “unusual and significant stock bonuses” worth anywhere from $50,000 to $180,000. That stock likewise went to engineers in various hardware and software disciplines.
According to Bloomberg, which also broke this latest story, this second round of bonuses is smaller than the first one, and the stock is scheduled to vest over several years—which could persuade key engineers to stay for the long term, lest they lose the money. Meta (formerly Facebook) has apparently targeted Apple engineers who might prove useful in building the “metaverse,” the company’s term for an ecosystem of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps and services; rumors suggest that Apple is likewise hard at work on an AR headset of its own.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman previously suggested that Apple’s initial AR headset will be quite expensive. “Apple’s first headset will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses,” he wrote last year. “The company will likely need to work with governments globally on possible prescription lenses and partner with a bevy of manufacturers on complex technologies that neither side has shipped before.” (Hat tip to 9to5Mac for the link to Gurman’s newsletter.)
If competition is indeed heating up between the tech giants, that’s great news for any technologist who’s mastered AR-related skills. Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, says only 8,796 jobs asking for AR skills popped up over the past year, although it predicts that AR-related jobs will grow 64.4 percent over the next two years. Moreover, the median salary for AR-related positions is $84,000—significantly less than many technologist salaries. However, you can expect the salaries and job opportunities to increase exponentially if AR really takes off.