Apple's Retail Store Staff Compensation Criticized

In the latest installment of its "iEconomy" series of articles, The New York Times takes a look at Apple's retail stores, examining the compensation offered to its employees responsible for fueling booming sales in the division. The article features quotes from a number of former Apple retail store employees, including MacRumors' own Jordan Golson.

jobs retailing is hard
The new report takes the stance that Apple is not paying its retail staff enough given the success of the stores, instead relying on its employees' devotion to the company and a strong fan base providing a massive pool of job applicants to keep its retail stores staffed.

Within this world, the Apple Store is the undisputed king, a retail phenomenon renowned for impeccable design, deft service and spectacular revenues. Last year, the company’s 327 global stores took in more money per square foot than any other United States retailer — wireless or otherwise — and almost double that of Tiffany, which was No. 2 on the list, according to the research firm RetailSails.

Worldwide, its stores sold $16 billion in merchandise.

But most of Apple’s employees enjoyed little of that wealth. While consumers tend to think of Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., as the company’s heart and soul, a majority of its workers in the United States are not engineers or executives with hefty salaries and bonuses but rather hourly wage earners selling iPhones and MacBooks.

The report notes that roughly 70% of Apple's 43,000 U.S. workers are retail store employees, with many of them earning in the neighborhood of $25,000 per year. Apple's pay rates are above average for the retail sector, but the Times argues that with each retail store employee bringing in an average of $500,000 in sales per year Apple is not a typical retailer.

The latest iEconomy report comes just days after Apple began offering raises of up to 25% to many of its retail store employees, with speculation suggesting that the move was made to address the criticism set to appear in the report. Apple last week also launched new employee hardware discounts of $500 off of a Mac or $250 off of an iPad, on top of existing 25% employee discounts.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Reuters)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Report: These 10 New AI Features Are Coming in iOS 18

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:57 pm PDT by
iOS 18 and macOS 15 will offer an array of new AI features such as auto-generated emojis, suggested replies to emails and messages, and more, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports. A significant portion of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is expected to focus on AI features. Writing his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that Apple's AI strategy emphasizes providing...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Firmware

Tuesday May 28, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released new firmware update for both the Lightning and USB-C versions of the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 6F7, up from the 6B34 firmware released in November. Apple does not provide details on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware beyond "bug fixes and other improvements," so it is unclear what's new in the update. Apple does not give...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
iOS 18 WWDC 24 Feature 2

Gurman: iOS 18 Will Allow Users to Recolor App Icons and Place Them Anywhere

Sunday May 26, 2024 12:22 pm PDT by
Apple's iOS 18 update will introduce new features for further customizing the iPhone's home screen, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman claimed that Apple will allow users to change the color of app icons in iOS 18. For example, "you can make all your social icons blue or finance-related ones green." This kind of home screen...
iPad Pro Landscape Apple Logo Feature

Apple Says Future iPads Could Feature Landscape Apple Logo

Monday May 27, 2024 6:31 am PDT by
French website Numerama interviewed three senior Apple employees about the new iPad Pro models that launched earlier this month. While the discussion did not reveal many new details, it did mention one potential change for future iPads. While the Apple logo on the back of iPads is positioned so that it appears upright in vertical orientation, the devices are often used in landscape...

Top Rated Comments

levitynyc Avatar
156 months ago
If the Apple Store don't like their salaries, they are more than welcome to go work somewhere else.

Capitalism wins here.
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
levitynyc Avatar
156 months ago
We recently put a job opening up on Craigslist for a small retail store in NY for pretty much a stock boy / delivery boy position at 8 bucks an hour with no health benefits. We got over 200 applicants in 7 days.

Making 12 bucks an hour, plus full medical and 401K in a mall selling computers that essentially sell themselves is pretty sweet in my opinion.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LagunaSol Avatar
156 months ago
Wow, yet another anti-capitalism, anti-Apple diatribe from the NYT. What a surprise. Perhaps the government should mandate pay rates based on a company's success in the marketplace. Am I right comrades?
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Macman45 Avatar
156 months ago
Retailing IS hard. I had a brief spell at it after my wife died and I just wanted a job, Any job to take my mind off things. I worked for Tiny Computers (Now long defunct) first part time, and then as a manager in the Cardiff store.

The hours were long, the pressure to sell extended warranties intense, and I left because I believed that the ethos was immoral...I was however very well paid. I hired all female staff based on the theory that they sell better...They did, and my store was consistently top of the sales tables.

I left to start my own business, taking with me many of the staff I had hired!

Any retail environment is tough, and I don't begrudge Apple staff the pay rise one bit. They have to deal with awkward customers on a daily basis.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdjudd Avatar
156 months ago
I remember working retail - I got crap for compensation besides the ability to work extra shifts every so often. I would regularly ring up transactions for hundreds of dollars. We never sold computers, but I sold the most expensive stuff in the store. I bet if I sold computers only, I would be treated the same way that Apple employees do. And they make more money than I did.

Retail employees almost never make a lot of money - even if the company they work for makes millions of money. That’s just a fact of the retail versus corporate side of business. If you want to make money working retail is not the route to take.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
156 months ago
This is pretty ridiculous, since when do companies "share" their wealth with employees based on dollars earned per square foot? They aren't owners, they're employees. As long as their compensation is comparable to other retail jobs, where's the problem? No one gets rich working retail, that sucks but that's just the way it is. You want to get rich then write some software after leaving the Apple Store.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)