LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Decent jobs in the service sector

I’ve been harping on the value of focusing on earnings per employee if we are to pay decent salaries. This was in the context of the IT and ITES sectors in Sri Lanka, where I have the data, but the argument applies to the entire service sector (where most of the jobs of the future will be) and to all countries.

A recent report on Apple’s earnings per store employee v salaries paid to those employees, highlights the issues again:

By the standards of retailing, Apple offers above average pay — well above the minimum wage of $7.25 and better than the Gap, though slightly less than Lululemon, the yoga and athletic apparel chain, where sales staff earn about $12 an hour. The company also offers very good benefits for a retailer, including health care, 401(k) contributions and the chance to buy company stock, as well as Apple products, at a discount.

But Apple is not selling polo shirts or yoga pants. Divide revenue by total number of employees and you find that last year, each Apple store employee — that includes non-sales staff like technicians and people stocking shelves — brought in $473,000.

The report goes on to say that Apple is in the process of raising salaries. With earnings like that, they can. This highlights the importance of the metric.


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