Last year was a good year for Jeff Bezos, but to be fair it’s hard to have a bad year when you’re the richest person in the world. In 2017, the Amazon CEO added another $35.1 billion to his net worth, making him worth roughly $132 billion in total. But while Bezos has been splashing out on rockets and 500-foot clocks, many of his employees have been struggling to make ends meet.
On April 18, Amazon disclosed that its median employee made $28,446 in total compensation in 2017, which is a substantially lower income than at other tech companies like Tesla. During the same year, Bezos took home $1,681,840 in total compensation but earned a salary of $81,840, and most of his income came from security payments from his company. All in all, that’s 59 times the median Amazon worker’s income.
The United States Department of Health & Human Services lists the national poverty line for a family of five is $29,420. However, an Amazon spokesperson explained that the company’s compensation figures include a range of roles across many countries.
“Amazon proudly employs over 560,000 people around the world. These roles range from associates working in our fulfillment centers to customer service representatives to software engineers and product managers,” an Amazon spokesperson told MarketWatch. “Our median pay is across that entire range of our workforce — global, full and part-time, and every area of the company.”
While employees in countries other than the U.S. might be paid less on average, The Intercept reported this month that a third of Amazon’s warehouse workers in Arizona are dependent on food stamps. A 2013 investigation by CNN revealed that the average Walmart warehouse worker took home roughly $15,000 less than Amazon warehouse employees that year.
Over the past year, Amazon has seen major gains in its stock, but this report reveals that not much of those earnings go towards its employees.