World’s Richest Person Jeff Bezos Is the Meanest Tech Billionaire

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos runs one of the world’s largest companies, but worker compensation doesn’t reflect that. Here’s how Amazon worker pay compares to the average U.S. wage. | Image: Eric BARADAT / AFP

  • Amazon’s median pay falls below the U.S. average.
  • This is an anomaly as tech companies boast higher than average pay.
  • Jeff Bezos is currently worth over $110 billion with his fortune largely contained in Amazon.

The world’s richest person Jeff Bezos owes his fortune largely to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). But among tech billionaires featured in the top 100 Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos is at the bottom of the list when it comes to worker compensation.

According to recent American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations’ filings, the median pay at Amazon is $28,836. That’s the lowest figure among tech companies with a billionaire founder or major shareholder at the helm. It’s also lower than the 2018 median net compensation in the U.S. ($32,838).

Amazon’s 2018 median is below the U.S. average. | Source: AFL-CIO

Pols attack Jeff Bezos

The low median pay at Amazon has attracted criticism from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Last September, Sanders cited Bezos as a prime example of income inequality.

In a tweet, Sanders claimed that the Amazon CEO generates more money in 10 seconds than the annual income an average employee:

Clear your mind for a moment and count to 10. In those 10 seconds, Jeff Bezos made more money than the median employee of Amazon makes in an entire year.

Source: Twitter

Amazon has also been on the receiving end of Democratic House Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In June, AOC accused Amazon of paying workers “starvation wages”.

Why the low pay at Amazon?

Part of the reason for Amazon’s median income being low is the high number of low-wage service jobs that the company has at its fulfillment centers, delivery operations and other departments. Skilled positions in software development are still competitive. A relatively junior software engineer position at Amazon pays $99,444, for instance.

To Jeff Bezos’ credit, the imbalance between his pay and Amazon employees was lower than the average among S&P 500 companies. Amazon’s CEO-to-worker pay ratio in 2018 was 58:1. The average pay ratio for S&P 500 firms was 287:1 in 2018.

And the most generous tech billionaire is…

Facebook has consistently ranked as one of the best places to work. With the median pay at the social media giant being $228,651, CEO Mark Zuckerberg easily qualifies as the most generous tech billionaire on this list.

Michael Dell’s Dell Technologies comes in third with a median pay of $88,459. The median pay at Oracle, where founder Larry Ellison is the Executive Chairman, is $83,813.

Tesla is last on the list with a median pay of $56,163. Tesla also fares poorly with regards to pay imbalances. Based on the 2018 records, Tesla’s CEO-to-worker pay ratio is a ridiculous 40,668:1. That year Musk’s total compensation amounted to $2,284,044,884.

Tesla’s ridiculous CEO-to-worker pay ratio. | Source: AFL-CIO

This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

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