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Return To Office Rules Lead To Senior Staff Exodus At Apple, Microsoft, and SpaceX

Microsoft campus office building in Bucharest

A recent study reveals that the return-to-the-office mandate is causing a vast turnover among senior employees at major tech companies.

The University of Chicago and the University of Michigan research draws on resume data from People Data Labs.

It showed a strong correlation between these mandates and the departure of high-level talent.

The study suggested the changes had a detrimental impact on workforce tenure and seniority.

The study highlighted nearly 97 percent of staff at these companies, particularly those in leadership roles, left their jobs shortly after the return-to-office policies were implemented. 

This trend resulted in a sharp decrease in the percentage of senior employees.

Apple saw a four percentage point drop.

Microsoft saw a five percentage point decrease.

SpaceX, which enforced a full in-person return, had a 15 percentage point reduction.

According to Austin Wright, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, the demands saw employees moving to competitor firms, taking valuable skills and knowledge with them. 

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This migration is prompted by policies that overlook employee preferences and the flexible work environments many have come to value.

Researcher David Van Dijcke said the three companies significantly influence the tech sector.

They represented more than two percent of its workforce and 30 percent of its revenue. 

The policies these companies adopt set a precedent, influencing broader discussions about workplace flexibility across the industry.

Despite the evidence, responses from the companies varied. 

Microsoft declined to comment, and SpaceX did not respond to inquiries. 

An Apple spokesperson, Josh Rosenstock, criticized the study for drawing "inaccurate conclusions," maintaining that attrition rates at Apple remain low.

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