Saturday, June 23, 2012

Low pay at Apple Stores

Why does Apple pay it's retail employee's so little ?

Well, obviously, because it can. But the real answer is way more complex. And very little can be done to raise the pay in the short term except for a "shaming" article in the NYT.

The real answer is that corporations have changed how they develop talent. They no longer develop internal people who grow up with the company but instead purchase talent on the open market.

So the 21st century corporation is a silo's of experts: HR, product design, engineering, accounting and retail store operations. They only work together when forced to, for example design, manufacturing engineering and cost accounting. Marketing would jump in later at a typical company. Apple had design and marketing embodied in Steve Jobs. Apple is a "product" company and retail operations are important but secondary. Their stores could look like a cell phone store and they would sell the product.

Large, US corporations no longer develop expertise in-house. They have found it too expensive. Especially in areas like HR or retail operations. Instead they have hired experts from the outside. Sure the executives claim Apple values but they did not grow up there.

So apple brought in an expert from the gap, or best buy, or Verizon to run retail. And they were devoted to the bottom line of their area, not the company as a whole. We all know that labor costs are a large piece of the bottom line. HR and retail operations were look at their own internal bottom line at the cost of the companies reputation.

You think Apple would wise up after bad press for poorly treated overseas manufacturing workers at Foxconn, for the designed in "California tag," and for record CEO pay. Now we find out they are underpaying their retail workers.

We are in a new era of large scale corporate dominance of politics and the media leave only guilt and shame as a way of increasing wages.

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