Foxconn, the Taiwanese-based company responsible for manufacturing the iPhone and a host of other electronic gadgets, made headlines last summer when an employee jumped to his death after misplacing an iPhone prototype he was tasked with keeping track of.
Since then, a number of Foxconn employees have attempted suicide in a similar fashion. Just last week, a report surfaced that a 24 year old female employee had jumped from her apartment building to her death. And now comes word that yet another Foxconn worker has died after plummeting from a Foxconn dormitory in China this past Saturday.
In 2010 alone, there have been 10 suicide attempts attributed to Foxconn employees, with 8 of those resulting in deaths.
The obvious question, therefore, is if there’s anything suspicious going on. Is it possible that the high level of secrecy and accompanying pressure at Foxconn is simply too much for employees, or any reasonable person for that matter, to endure?
While that may be the gut reaction for many, the statistics tell a different story.
Foxconn has a huge factory base in Shenzhen, China where approximately 300,000 employees work to churn out iPads, Sony PSP’s, and most any other electronic device you can think of. In the first 4.5 months of 2010, there have been 8 successful suicides. That’s nearly 1.8 suicides a month, which extrapolates out to approximately 22 suicides a year. Out of a workforce of 300,000, the Foxconn suicide rate, so to speak, boils down to .0073%.
To contextualize that figure, the suicide rate in the United States in 2000 was 0.01%. And to further prove that concerns of an abnormally high suicide rate at Foxconn are overblown, take a look at this listing of Countries organized by suicide rate. If Foxconn were a country, its suicide rate would place it 62 spots down on the list. Not only that, but its suicide rate would fall well below the suicide rates in countries like Japan, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Iceland, the United States, Denmark, Germany and Ireland.