Amazon is defined by billions; median salary is $28,446

The big numerical reveal on Wednesday was Amazon finally spilling the beans on the number of Prime members (more than 100 million). It also disclosed another number that shows how much it relies on an army of people moving physical merchandise around the world: $28,446.
 
That's the median annual compensation of Amazon employees. Amazon reported this number for the first time under a new requirement that companies disclose the gap between pay for the rank-and-file and the person in the corner office. (Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person, reported total compensation of $1.68 million last year. As in prior years, he didn't take a stock bonus, collected a salary of $81,840 and had $1.6 million in personal security costs that Amazon covered.)
 
That median pay figure is skewed by the large number of Amazon's more than 560,000 employees who work in its package warehouses, distribution centers, Whole Foods grocery stores and other places far from the ping-pong tables, endless free kale chips and yoga rooms of Silicon Valley's rich tech campuses. Compare Amazon's median pay with Facebook's $240,430.
Just a reminder that this means half of Amazon's workers make more than $28,446, and half make less. The company doesn't have to disclose average pay, which would probably be skewed higher by the smaller number of Amazon's highly paid tech workers.
 
In a statement, Amazon said its median pay figure includes people in more than 50 countries and part-time employees. The company also said it offers "highly competitive wage and benefits." (Full disclosure: I have a family member who works for a labor organization that advocates for higher worker pay.)
 
Amazon likes to boast about its prowess in job creation, and the company's workforce has exploded in recent years. Amazon is now the second-largest private employer in the U.S. behind Walmart. In Bezos's annual letter to shareholders, also released on Wednesday, he again highlighted Amazon's investment in infrastructure and its ability to create jobs both directly and indirectly.
Bezos said Amazon directly created more than 130,000 jobs in 2017, not including people the company absorbed from acquired companies such as Whole Foods. That means Amazon brought on board more people in one year than the entire workforce of Google parent company Alphabet, which said it had more than 80,000 employees at the end of last year.
 
"Our new jobs cover a wide range of professions, from artificial intelligence scientists to packaging specialists to fulfillment center associates," Bezos wrote. The company's median compensation figure, however, shows that at least by volume, Amazon's workforce tilts more toward the fulfillment center associates than AI specialists.
 
There's long been a debate about the quality of jobs at Amazon and whether cities and states should roll out the red carpet for Amazon to open package warehouses in their backyards.
 
Amazon's median pay works out to about $14 an hour, assuming a full-time worker at 52 weeks a year. That's a solid wage in many parts of the U.S. and not so much in other parts. For comparison, Target Corp. recently announced plans to pay at least $15 an hour by the end of 2020. Those people questioning the quality of Amazon's jobs just got a new data point for their critiques.
 
Shoot

Trending News

Why Amazon’s Flipkart bid is just not high enough

Selling without MRP, expiry dates to cost etailers

TCS hits $100Bn market cap: A new phase for India Inc?

Snapdeal posts Rs 4,647 crore net loss in 2016-17

Flipkart-Walmart deal: What it means for the etailer and the whole industry

NCLAT stays CCI penalty of Rs 136cr on Google in search bias case

Walmart may rope in Google parent Alphabet for the Flipkart deal

Internet shutdown cost Indian economy $3 billion from 2012-17: Study

Flipkart and Amazon plan mega summer sales in May

International sales now account for 48% of Twitter's revenues

70% of mobile phones buyers in India opt for non-cash payments

Amazon India expects groceries & household products to account for 50% of business in 5 yrs

India to come out with a E-commerce policy framework in 6 months

Online learning platform Career Anna raises Rs 3 Cr funding

Wal-Mart will offer to buy up to 86% of Flipkart

Agritech startups Sabziwala and LivLush merge their business under new entity Kamatan

Avail Finance lands $17.2M from Matrix Partners & Ola, Freecharge and Flipkart founders

RBI suggests tax sops, self-regulation to build fintech space

Swiggy hires new CEO for its Access Service, gets new CFO

Logistics company Delhivery registers 44% increase in FY17 revenues

WeWork to acquire one of the oldest social networks, Meetup

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

EasyRewardz gets $2 million Series-A funding

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

Lending platform Lenden Club gets Rs 3.5cr in Equity Investment

On festive sales, Flipkart says 65% clients from Tier-II cities