Amazon boosts minimum wage in US and UK

CEO Jeff Bezos said the company has listened to critics and increased its minimum wage.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon said it will increase the minimum wage for its workers to $15 in the U.S., £10.50 in London and £9.50 in the ret of the UK.

The movecomes as Amazon was under fire for an median employee salary of $28,446. That sum, however, includes warehouse jobs, seasonal and temporary gigs. Relative to competitors like Google and Facebook, Amazon's median salary is lower.

In the U.S. the minimum wage is $7.50 in many locations. The pay raises are effective Nov. 1. In a statement, Amazon noted that the minimum wage increase will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees and 100,000 seasonal workers. The UK increase will give 17,000 full time and 20,000 seasonal workers a boost.

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CEO Jeff Bezos said "we listened to our critics" and "decided we wanted to lead."

In its proxy, Amazon noted the following:

The 2017 annual total compensation of our median compensated employee other than Mr. Bezos was $28,446; Mr. Bezos' 2017 annual total compensation was $1,681,840, and the ratio of those amounts is 1-to-59. For purposes of identifying the median compensated employee, we took into account salary, bonus, and grant date fair value of RSUs granted during the year for all our employees as of December 31, 2017. We annualized this compensation for employees who did not work the entire year, except for employees designated as seasonal or temporary.

It's unclear how the minimum wage increase will bolster Amazon's median compensation for its workforce, but it's safe to say it's headed up.

See inside an Amazon fulfillment center where many of the workers don't get paid

Facebook's median of annual total compensation was $240,430 and Alphabet, owner of Google, checked in at $197,274.

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Those comparisons may not work for Amazon given that Google and Facebook don't have fulfillment and distribution for physical goods. A better comparison may be Walmart, which reported a median associate compensation for fiscal 2018 of $19,177.

In its proxy, Walmart noted the following:

In determining our median associate, we used calendar year 2017 gross earnings - meaning total amounts paid before deductions or adjustments, including wages, overtime, bonuses, and the value of any equity awards that vested and were paid to an associate during calendar year 2017. Adjustments were made to annualize the gross earnings of all newly hired permanent associates in the considered population who did not work for the entire calendar year 2017. From the considered population, we then used statistical sampling to identify a group of associates who were paid within a range of 0.5% above or below what we estimated to be our median gross earnings amount (the "median population"). We then reviewed recent historical taxable wage data of the median population, and for those associates within the median population with stable wages, we calculated each of their fiscal 2018 total compensation in the same way as we calculated our CEO's fiscal 2018 total compensation. Based upon the estimates, assumptions, and methodology described above, the fiscal 2018 annual total compensation of our CEO was $22,791,276, the fiscal 2018 annual total compensation of our median associate was $19,177, and the ratio of these amounts was 1,188:1.

See inside an Amazon fulfillment center where many of the workers don't get paid

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