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Could Apple topple Dell as Austin area’s largest corporate employer?

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Could Apple topple Dell as the area's largest employer? Industry analysts think so.  Photo by Tyler Rudick

In the not-too-distant future, Apple could truly be the apple of Austin’s eye.

Economic development consultant Angelos Angelou, founder of Austin-based Angelou Economics, predicts Apple will overtake Dell as the area’s largest corporate employer within the next five to seven years.

“Apple being the largest employer would definitely cement Austin’s reputation as center of innovation, entrepreneurship, talent, young energy and technology on a global scale,” said Angelou, who helped lure Apple to Central Texas in the early 1990s.

 Apple is boosting its headcount in the Austin area — to more than 7,000 within the next decade — as Dell is shedding local jobs.  

As it stands now, Round Rock-based Dell ranks as the region’s largest corporate employer. At last count, Dell had about 14,000 employees in the Austin area, overshadowing Apple’s local workforce of about 4,000.

However, Apple is boosting its headcount in the Austin area — to more than 7,000 within the next decade — as Dell is shedding local jobs. Dell recently confirmed an undisclosed number of layoffs company wide. Conservative estimates put the headcount reduction at three percent to four percent, according to Angelou, while some observers peg the cut at anywhere from 15 percent to 30 percent.

“I think the anticipation is that Dell will be shrinking,” Angelou said, “and Apple will be growing its payroll in Austin.”

In Northwest Austin, Apple is building a $304 million, 1 million-square-foot campus to house its Americas Operations Center — essentially a second headquarters outside its Northern California base.

“Austin will be second location in the world where Apple owns and has built a facility from the ground up, reflecting a strong commitment from the company for their future expansion in our community,” the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce says.

The first phase of the Austin campus is set to be finished in 2015 and the second phase in 2021. Among the corporate functions to be housed at the 39-acre campus are accounting, finance, HR, sales and marketing. Apple’s existing workforce in Austin includes engineers, sales professionals and support staff. As Wired observed, “Austin will eventually be home to a major portion of the Apple empire.”

Over the next 10 years, Apple is expected to add about 3,600 jobs in Austin, more than doubling the current local workforce. “I suspect this number will go up as the company continues to grow,” Angelou said.

About two decades ago, Angelou helped recruit Silicon Valley-based Apple to Austin as leader of economic development initiatives at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Back then, the tech company indicated it would employ only about 300 people here, he said, and “there was some chance that they may grow to 800.”

About two decades ago, Angelou helped recruit Silicon Valley-based Apple to Austin as leader of economic development initiatives at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Back then, the tech company indicated it would employ only about 300 people here, he said, and “there was some chance that they may grow to 800.”

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