Talk about bad timing: Within weeks of being named the best place to work last year, NetApp Inc. announced plans to cut about 6 percent of its workforce.
It was February 2009, during the worst days of the recession. Customers had slashed their spending budgets, leaving the company with no choice but to eliminate jobs, NetApp said at the time.
NetApp’s woes may have signaled the end of Silicon Valley’s dominance of the best-workplace rankings. When the list came out this year, the Sunnyvale, California-based company dropped to No. 7. And for the first time since 2006, all three of the top companies were outside the region.
The current No. 1 is SAS Institute Inc. in Cary, North Carolina. It’s never had layoffs for economic reasons, according to Fortune magazine, which publishes the list. Job cuts are just one of the reasons behind Silicon Valley’s diminished appeal: Shrinking paychecks, less generous perks and the high cost of housing can make the area a harder sell for workers.
“I’ve been doing this for 22 years, and this is the worst I’ve seen in Silicon Valley,” said John Rosica, head of the San Jose, California, office of Management Recruiters International.